Emtee and Harrysong pay tribute to Nelson Mandela

South African rapper Emtee and Nigerian singer Harrysong have combined their lyrical forces to record a song ahead of Nelson Mandela Day on Monday 18 July. 

Nelson Mandela. Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries
Nelson Mandela. Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries

Titled ‘Mandela (We Wish Not To Let You Go)’, the song was released on Tuesday 12 July to pay tribute to the late South African statesman Nelson Mandela.

In November 2009, the United Nations officially declared 18 July, Mandela’s birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day in an effort to honour Mandela’s values, recognise his dedication to the service of humanity and acknowledge his contribution to the struggle for democracy. On this day every year, people across South Africa are encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time in service in celebration of the day. Mandela passed away in December 2013 at the age of 95.

The new tribute song opens with Harrysong expressing his love for the iconic figure. Emtee later joins and makes a comparison of certain aspects of his life with Mandela's. 

This is of course not the first time that musicians have released a song in tribute to Mandela. Musicians from diverse genres have been doing so since as early as the 1980s, while we has still imprisoned. Some of these songs include ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ by UK band The Specials, ‘Mandela’ (Bring Him Back Home) by Hugh Masekela, ‘Asimbonanga’ by Johnny Clegg and ‘When You Come Back’ by Vusi Mahlasela among countless others. 

The new song is Harrysong’s second version of his tribute to Mandela. The first, simply titled ‘Mandela’, won the Most Downloaded Callertune category at The Headies in 2013.

No stranger to political causes, Harrysong recently announced plans to stage a ‘peace concert’ in Nigeria’s troubled Delta State on 31 July.  Emtee meanwhile has established himself as one of South Africa’s hottest young acts, recently earning a nomination for the Viewer’s Choice Best New International Act at the 2016 BET Awards in Los Angeles in the USA, eventually losing out to Nigerian artist Falz.


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