Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hamba Kahle Tata Mandela


We grieve, we cry, we look for comfort, we give thanks - may Nelson Mandela's inspiring life make us all more resolute in pursuing his example of leadership, compassion and humanity. Hamba Kahle Tata.

In 1986 Johnny Clegg penned this beautiful protest anthem: Asimbonanga:

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
Look across the Island into the Bay
We are all islands till comes the day
We cross the burning water

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

A seagull wings across the sea
Broken silence is what I dream
Who has the words to close the distance
Between you and me

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Steve Biko

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)

Victoria Mxenge

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)

Neil Aggett

Hey wena (Hey you!)
Hey wena nawe (Hey you and you as well)
Siyofika nini la' siyakhona (When will we arrive at our destination)

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)


(The picture featured is of the striking Nelson Mandela sculpture created by Marco Cianfanelli at the site where Mandela was captured by the South African Police near Howick in 1962.)

The great man makes an appearance in this video of the song. The original recording of the track can be downloaded below.


RS here
MF here

2 comments:

  1. I remember how the majesty and serenity of the song struck me the moment I heard it. It was Joan Baez's version with her Latino voice in the lead and a chorus of familiar SA voices in exile including Caiphus Semenya's. I grabbed the LP instantly and have kept it since 1988/9. Shortly thereafter I acquired the Johnny Clegg original. I have always been awe-struck by Clegg's musical genius for weaving and executing such an exquisite tapestry of Zulu folk music and western sounds. The song is as timeless as the memory of the man the world came to love and cherish.

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