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Honoring Nelson Mandela

by Jim Allen

Honoring Nelson Mandela

About this playlist

It's difficult to think of a more heroic figure of the 20th century (and beyond) than Nelson Mandela, the man who not only liberated a nation, but also taught the whole world some crucial lessons. You surely know his story already: He was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life in prison for opposing South Africa's segregationist government, and was finally released in 1990. Becoming an even more powerful political figure than before, he led the country out of Apartheid and became South Africa's first black president. His Truth and Reconciliation Committee employed reason and compassion to heal many wounds from wrongs committed by whites during Apartheid, setting an example for all nations to follow. Mandela's leadership made his homeland a strong, proud country.

Among the countless souls Mandela inspired are musicians from around the world; during and after his incarceration, artists from all across the stylistic spectrum honored him in song, first crying out for his release and then celebrating it. Here's a soundtrack for looking back on the legacy of the beloved leader South Africans call "the father of the nation," including songs written for him as well as tracks by his countrymen celebrating the struggle and the spirit of the nation to which Mandela has devoted his life.