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A Beautiful Spontaneous Musical Tribute to Mandela in a Grocery Store (video)

December 15, 2013, 10:00 PM
Mandela1

‘You’re not going to be with us anymore. We’re going to take you to your last resting place.” These are the words the Mandela family said to Nelson Mandela's body upon his return to his childhood home this week prior to his burial today in Quna, South Africa.

A few days ago, another farewell to Mr. Mandela arose, seemingly spontaneously, in a Woolworth's grocery store in Pretoria. It was a startlingly beautiful moment. 

A dozen or so singers from the Soweto Gospel Choir posing as cashiers and shelf stockers broke out in a soaring call-and-response rendition of "Asimbonanga," a song Johnny Clegg composed for Mandela during his incarceration in the 1980s. 

Here are the lyrics, as reported by Yahoo News.

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]

Asimbonanga
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]
Sithi: Hey, wena [We say: hey, you]
Hey, wena nawe [Hey, you and you]
Siyofika nini la’ siyakhona [when will we arrive at our destination]

 

A transcendent moment of beauty in the most pedestrian of settings. 

More from the Big Idea for Thursday, June 19 2014

Exploring South Africa

“One of the things that’s very important to understand about South Africa is that it is, like so many other African countries, an artificial entity created by the Brits,” says Dave Steward, the fo... Read More…

 

A Beautiful Spontaneous Mus...

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