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Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Lion Sleeps Tonight - "Ulale Kahle, Madiba" (Sleep Well, Madiba)

This is a most beautiful Zulu song called Mbube - The Lion Sleeps Tonight - written and sung by Solomon Linda in the 1920s and 1930s while he worked for Gallo Records in Johannesburg, South Africa.  You can read all about it here:  https://archive.org/details/TheLionSleepsTonight1939.  You can also listen to the original song on this page.  It's well worth it.  Given that the song was recorded during the 1930s, the musical timelessness is amazing.  Today's musicians could learn a lot from the days of 'original sound'.

Here is a later (also excellent) rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the American band, The Tokens.  

A little bit of politics, if I may:  All of this occurred before what became known as 'apartheid' gripped our country in 1951 and, on archived film recordings of Mbube, one can clearly see races (black and white) working comfortably together to make beautiful music.  I'm grateful we're out of that time but cannot accept what the present corrupt regime has been doing to our wonderful country since 2009 and, as Madiba sleeps the long sleep, The Lion Needs to Roar on 7 May, 2014 to rid our country of the rot.

This post was initially inspired by the photograph below which my friend, Claudia, had taken in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.  I haven't written a post about the death of Nelson Mandela, the man who, with F W de Klerk, the then President of South Africa, moved the country away from apartheid into democracy (that they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together says much, even though that once noble prize is now noble no more).  At the time of his death, there was too much politicking going on and the timing wasn't right for me.  

This then is my tribute to a man who went to prison as an angry, hate-filled, young terrorist and emerged 27 years later as the humble, Christian, Statesman whom we South Africans (of all races) admired and still do.  

The Lion Sleeps Tonight 
"Ulale Kahle, Madiba" (Sleep Well, Madiba).

Claudia with a mural of Madiba in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa

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