Sandra Prüfer a Bonn based blogger with „Bonnections“ and often a visitor in the audience of Folk Club Bonn is some one who is renown for promoting worthy causes and so it was no surprise to see her support and turn up at the „Demo for Street Music“ on Saturday 14th July.
Sandra supports many other noble causes and on this day she was also surreptitiously recruiting likely musicians to play a week later on Saturday 21.07.18 for a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. The early evening was blessed with most welcome rain, but in the end, „it turned out nice again“
The Bonn Folk Clubbers amongst you will doubtless recognise local guitarist singer/song writers Daniel Bongart, Sebastian Landwehr and my dear self.
The other fine participating musicians, Saico Baldè and Bebison and at least half of the German rappers Simon & Ingo, you are all cordially invited to perform at Folk Club Bonn in the future. We welcome you.
What can one say about a human being whose soul has the stature of Nelson Mandela?
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Imagine being incarcerated for twenty-seven years and then leaving the burdensome baggage of bitterness and hatred just outside the cell door as it creaks shut for the very last time. Re-entering the world, almost as a new born child, without any desire for revenge against the perpetrators of this injustice.
Somehow, then when finally sensing triumph, being magnanimous unto those who one had untimately defeated, against all the initially predicted odds.
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Twenty-seven is a renown number of years for musicians, when one thinks of the „Twenty-seven club“, those promising gifted young musicians whose lives where prematurely snuffed out like wayward candles in the wind at the tender age of twenty-seven:
Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, to name but only a few.
Imagine again though, those twenty-seven years, were not taken from the beginning of one’s own time line, including the initial childhood beginning of one’s formative life, but right out of the middle conscience section, the most productive part of one’s whole adult life.
Take that on the chin, smile, and then move on, with no later feeling of remorse, yet with love in your heart.
That is basically what Nelson Mandela did.
There is a wonderful YouTube video in the middle of the Bonnections blog about Nelson Mandela of Johnny Clegg singing his song „Asimbonanga“ which is half in Zulu and half in English.
You can also listen to it here:
Johnny Glegg was born in Rochdale in Lancashire in northern England, but spent most of his life in southern Africa and the lion’s share in South Africa. In France Johnny Clegg is known as „Le Zoulou Blanc“, avec belle raison! He often flaunted the harsh Apartheid race rules to play onstage with both white and black musicians together.
The song is dedicated to Nelson Mandela “truly one of the greatest South Africans in history“ and the great man himself appears on the video towards the end, at the age of eighty.
Nelson Mandela flashes his inimitable smile on stage and relates,
“It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world.......and at peace with myself“
Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison on 11th Febuary 1990 and after South Africa's first multi-racial election with full enfranchisement he was later inaugurated as president of South Africa on 10th May 1994, at the age of seventy-five, a position which he held until 14th June 1999. Very few jailbirds have ever managed to rehabilitate themselves so well into society so as to become internationally respected statesmen after their release.
That is what Nelson Mandela did.
Nelson Mandela’s lesson to us all is that with sufficient hope and tenacity and strength of mind and character, one can survive such a fundamental struggle of good against evil, turn the other cheek, and not only survive, but to thrive to win that fundamental human struggle which ultimately affects the whole of humanity and its continued existence in a civilised state.
Retrospectively, even after over a century since his birth, Nelson Mandela reminds us all still of a very fundamental, and hopefully immortal human trait and precondition.
“Madiba“ knew it all too well,
“Love Trumps Hate“.
The lines in italics above are direct quotes from Nelson Mandela.
If you wish a further insight into life in South Africa under the Apartheid regime one can read the book „Born A Crime“ by Trevor Noah.
Here is a poem called "Invictus" written by William Ernest Henley recited by Alan Bates.
It was a great inspiration to Nelson Mandela and his favourite poem.