View of A Tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

[Original Voices: Genre]

A Tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Compiled by Helen Brenda Oosthuizen & Michael Viega

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. A powerful name. A powerful leader, known and admired through much of the world. The first "black" president of South Africa, representing a period in history that transformed our people, from a nation struggling with injustice, oppression and separation to a rainbow nation filled with prospects and hope.

However, we prefer to think of this great man as Tata Madiba, our father. Despite his greatness, he had the humility to offer forgiveness to those who oppressed his people – yet not without the challenge that we all proudly embrace our new nation. He always had the time to shake the hands of little children of all races, to visit the impoverished, the disabled, those ill in hospitals, those in prison. He had time for those often forgotten, marginalised or silenced. A number of us in South Africa can share a personal experience of our Madiba. South Africans also join with many across the world who may connect with Mandela’s struggle for freedom, are inspired by his undying hope or embrace the values he asserted and lived by – of social justice, equality and unity of all people, whilst celebrating our diversity.

As Tata Madiba was laid to rest on 5 December 2013, we were offered a space to both mourn and honour this phenomenal leader. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy aims to espouse similar values to those of Madiba, and we felt it would be an honour to offer a tribute of our own, through the medium of music. The tribute celebrates the diversity of people that were influenced by Mandela’s legacy, both within South Africa and internationally, both those fluent in the mediums of music and language and those who struggle to speak at all, those living in both wealthy and impoverished communities, those who are relatively healthy or suffer from illness.

The tribute is loosely linked by the refrain from the song "Asimbonanga", composed and performed by Johnny Clegg and Savuka as an important protest song during the apartheid era. The Zulu words state: "We have not seen Mandela, in the place where he is, in the place where he has been taken," referring to Mandela’s time spent in prison. Although Mandela is no longer with us, his spirit will always remain. This is our tribute.

Below follows some details on the contributions to the video:


Lyrics: Translations: About the Contributors:
Asimbonang’ uMandela thina
Laphe khona
Laphehleli khona

We have not seen him
We have not seen our Mandela
In the place where he is

In the place where they have taken him

Thula sizwe
Viva Madiba
Your spirit with us
Is our guiding light

Thula sizwe
Viva Madiba
Ubuntu! Dit klop
In elke hart
Quiet my people
Long live Madiba

(Zulu): Quiet my people Long live Madiba
(Afrikaans): A spirit of unity! It beats In every heart

Tshwane School of Music and Music Therapists (backing music through tribute) Gauteng, South Africa Tshwane School of Music is a community based Music School situated in Eersterust, Pretoria. The school was founded by Mr Freddy Arendse who obtained BMus(Hons) Music Communication, a program offered by the Music Therapy Unit at the University of Pretoria. The Tshwane School of Music is to be a community placement for music therapy students.
Tshwane School of Music staff: Adrian Rosper (vocalist), Wayne Bosch (bass), Freddy Arendse (guitar), Ryan Peters (recording)
Gauteng music therapists: Carol Lotter, Ilse Tiran, Kathryn Morgan, Marie-Victoire Cummings and Helen Oosthuizen

Our beloved Madiba was a guiding light who left behind a nation inspired by Hope. His example of humility, courage, love, integrity, and forgiveness will sustain us forever. In 2002, Madiba visited Little Eden, an institution which cares for children and adults with intellectual disability, where I am currently working. The staff members are grateful for the moments he shared and his contribution to improving the lives of others. Through creative music-making, and engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds, Madiba has been an inspiration to me in viewing each individual as a unique, motivated, and 'able' being, despite profound disability. You have elevated our minds, Madiba! May you rest in eternal Peace. Hamba kahle uTata!  

Little Eden Gauteng, South Africa
“LITTLE EDEN is the permanent home to 300 residents who have profound intellectual disability, the majority of whom have been discarded and abandoned by society. Within the confines of LITTLE EDEN these precious souls find daily warmth, care and love together with all the ancillary programmes and therapies offered.” (see

Tribute by music therapist: Marie-Victoire Cummings

Madiba, thanks for freeing our nation
We love you and respect you
Tata Sizokhumbula
Lala ngoxolo

(Zulu): We will remember you Rest in peace
Tribute by a resident at Little Eden, Edenvale, South Africa
Nkosi AmaKhosi

Akhekhofana nawe
Nkosi AmaKhosi
(Traditional Zulu hymn): We want to praise you
Oh Lord you are our Lord

For there is no-one else like you Oh Lord you are our Lord
Residents of Little Eden, Edenvale, South Africa
Nelson Mandela
Akekho ofana naye

(Xhosa): There is no-one else like him
Music Works Cape Town, South Africa
Music Works Team, Cape Town, South Africa (including music therapists and community musicians): Philna Badenhorst, Sunelle Fouche, Mark Williams, Renee van den Berg, Zwai Mvimbi, Mari Stevens For more information about MusicWorks, please see
Asithi Hey wena
Hey wena nawe
Siyofika nini la' siyakhona
(Zulu):We say Hey you Hey you and you as well When will we arrive at our destination Income Generation group, Nyanga, South Africa
Nyanga is an informal settlement on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, with a population of 58 000. The Etafeni Centre in Nyanga is a multi-purpose community centre for children affected by HIV/Aids, and their caregivers. MusicWorks runs an after-school music programme at the centre.
    Young people from the ‘Fit for Life’ programme, Etafeni, Nyanga, South Africa

Children from the after-care programme, Etafeni, Nyanga, South Africa
Once a week the children in Etafeni’s after-care programme gather for their marimba rehearsals. This forms part of MusicWorks’ Music for Life programme at this centre. The MusicWorks team is also mentoring young people from Nyanga in running after-school music groups with younger children in their community.

    Kwa Thema Central Methodist Church Gauteng, South Africa
Kwa Thema is a township in Eastern Gauteng that has experienced much violence and unrest. The Methodist Church, pastored by Rev Phidian Matsepe, welcomes young and old, wealthy and those struggling for resources in a diverse, inclusive worship service.
(Grade 5): Forget the past, let freedom reign (x4)

(Grade 7): We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.

(Grade 4): Nelson Mandela, Tata, Madiba Nelson Mandela, Tata, Madiba
  Pretoria Preparatory School Gauteng, South Africa
The Pretoria Preparatory School aims to meet the needs of children who struggle with learning difficulties. The remedial therapy programme includes music therapy. The grade 4, 5 and 7 children of Pretoria Preparatory School where very excited about creating personal tributes in the form of music to the late Nelson Mandela. Each tribute consists of improvised and composed music or rhythmic sequences. The spoken or sung messages which accompany the music include some of Madiba’s quotes which had an impact on their lives, or other statements of inspiration, hope and thanks.
Red, White, Yellow
Black and Brown
Skins like Autumn Leaves
Gently laying on the ground
People sort them into piles
They stack them into heaps
I want the wind to mess them up
To mix them differently

I don’t see just the five above
I see all different shades
A rainbow of people all around
No one better, just the same
My race is like a painting
My painter is a lover
Of all the colors of the world
Just waiting to be discovered

This was Dr. King’s big dream
And later Malcolm’s too
The love of all the colors
The mixtures of the hues
One day we’ll all have mixed so much
No one will even know
Why race was such a big commotion
A fate that was bestowed

Mandela and the ANC
They fought to change the way
The Whites had all the power
And Blacks, they had no say
Like Martin and like Malcom
He was banished to a cell
But these three Black men paved the way
For me to live life well

Red, White, Yellow
Black and Brown
Skins like Autumn Leaves
Gently laying on the ground
People sort them into piles
They stack them into heaps
I want the wind to mess them up
To mix them differently
  Poem for Mandela: Autumn Leaves: by Gabriel Yancy, United States of America
Mandela he hierdie wêreld ‘n beter plek gelaat.
Vir my was hy ‘n bron van inspirasie.
Eers na sy dood het ek ontdek watter liefde hy vir Händel se musiek gehad het.
Dit plaas Madiba in ‘n nuwe liga wan helde.
Ter herrinering speel ek soveel as moontlik van Händel se werke
Mandela left this world a better place
And has been a source of personal inspiration in my life
Only after his death did I discover his love for the music of Händel
This puts Madiba in a new league of heroes and will inspire me to play as much of his favourite composer as possible
Tribute by Charl Du Plessis: Well-Known South African Steinway Pianist
  (Drawings of Mandela’s face and silhouettes) Drawings by children from Eldorado Park Holiday Programme Gauteng, South Africa
Eldorado Park, a community south of Soweto near Johannesburg is associated with rife socio-economic challenges such as unemployment, substance abuse, rape and domestic violence. In December 2013 the Jonathan Butler Foundation in collaboration with the provincial government rolled out a holiday program which targeted 650 children. The holiday program had as its theme, "Purpose Kills Addiction", which was explored creatively through various arts modalities. The holiday program coincided with the death of Nelson Mandela, which led to the children also paying tribute to Madiba through various art forms
Nga iwi e! Nga iwi e!
Kia kotahi ra te Mo-a-na nui kiwa.

Nelson Mandela was a great man. He died.
He was very old.
In South Africa people were separate. Black and white people were treated different.
Nelson Mandela told the government to treat people fairly. They put him in jail.
Disability advocates want people to be treated fairly too.
People in New Zealand stopped the rugby game against South Africa because black people couldn't play. Nelson Mandela heard about that when he was in prison. He was pleased. He said "it was like the sun came out.
When he got out of jail Nelson Mandela was President of South Africa. He came to New Zealand. Maori people welcomed him. To be a guest of Maori was a great honour.
Our tribute is called Nga Iwi E. It was written by Hirini Melbourne. Hirini was Maori. Hirini wanted children to learn to speak Maori. He played traditional Maori instruments. Hirini died too. His wife said it was ok to use his words.
All you people! All you people!
Be united as one, like the Pacific Ocean.

Members of the 'ACTIVE Music' group, who are doing music and research at Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music.
The ACTIVE Music project is a collaboration between music therapists and young people who have intellectual disabilities.

Thank you to Jacob Dowbroski (Tuhoe / Ngati Porou), Tessa Haanen, Natasha Claydon, Patrice Dennis, and Erin Upjohn-Beatson for recording our tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The young people who put this together are engaged in a twenty-week music and participatory action research programme. They naturally use the space to reflect on things that are important to them, and the death of Nelson Mandela was something that they brought to sessions. The words that we have put together emerged over time as we discussed Nelson Mandela's life and death.

  (Images of artworks by Native American Artists) Images chosen by Carolyn Kenny, Antioch University
Artists and works:
Magenta Marie Spinningwind: Pow Wow Honouring
Dane Lea Hindson: Pow-Wow
Joseph “Doc Sunshine” Leon: The Sprit Lives
Tom Darro: Modern Pow Wow
Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to people around the world. And as an indigenous people’s we feel a special connection to his life, and to his work. When nelson Mandela visited Canada in 1998, First Nations and the assembly of First Nations made a point of honouring him personally, and we were deeply humbled and inspired by the time he took to sit with our leaders. We mention him alongside great First Nations leaders because he is a man who proved that a true leader’s spirit cannot be broken. A man who proved that one person’s strong spirit can bring about freedom, justice and peace for an entire country and inspire positive change around the globe. In his own words, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” Peace for all. Freedom for all.   Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
Excerpts of his speech given on the last anniversary of Mandela's birthday (July 2013), in which he speaks of Mandela's importance to America’s own Native peoples. (See
I remember it vividly, February 11, 1990
I cried, tears of joy, for Mandela’s release
As a young girl, I read
Winnie’s Part of my Soul
Passion igniting in me
To bring freedom for all I remember it vividly, May 10, 1994
I cried, tears of joy, for Mandela’s election
A new day had dawned
We had hope in humanity
A symbol worldwide
Of forgiveness and unity
I remember it vividly, December 5, 2013
I cried, tears of joy, for Mandela’s legacy
Along with three other Black men
Martin, Malcolm, My Husband
All courageous and just
Mandela helps raise my children
  Reflections by Sue Hadley, United States of America
Stil, broers,
daar gaan 'n man verby,
hy groet,
en dis verlaas.
Daar's nog maar één soos hy;
bekyk hom goed
En hierdie pure man
jou kind, Suid-Afrika!
Wat vrees ons dan?
Geseën sal wees
die grond, die bloed, die vlees
wat sulke vrugte dra.
Silence, brothers,
There goes a man,
He greets us,
For a last time.
There is but one like him
Look carefully at him
And this pure/true man
Your child South Africa!
What are we afraid of then?
Blessed shall be
The ground, the blood, the flesh
Which bears such fruit.
Extract from a poem by Jan FE Celliers, “Generaal De Wet” (1908)
Read by Anja Pollard, Gauteng based music therapist, South Africa

Thank you to Hilton Rosenthal at Rhythm Safari ( for permission to use the refrain from Johnny Clegg and Savuka’s song "Asimbonanga."

The video is edited for Voices by Michael Viega



Celliers, J.F.E. (1908). Die vlagte en ander gedigte. Volkstem-drukkerij: Pretoria

Public Speech

Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. (2013). International Mandela Day – July 18. The Assembly of First Nations. Accessed from on 14 February 2014 (Thank you to Don Kelly, the Director of Communications at the Assembly of First Nations, for permission to include an extract of this speech in our tribute.)


Dane Lea Hindson. Pow Wow. Accessed from, 17 February 2014

Henri Peter. Face of Wisdom. Accessed from, 24 February 2014

Pablita Verlarde. Old Father the Storyteller. Accessed from, 24 February, 2014

Tom Darro. Modern Pow Wow. Accessed from, 17 February 2014

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