Classic Rock News Home


Classic Rock Artists React to the Passing of Nelson Mandela


The news came yesterday that Nelson Mandela had passed away at the age of 95.

A true icon, Mandela was an activist against South African apartheid and racial oppression, and later spent 27 years in prison after being charged with treason.

Mandela, who was referred to affectionately as “Madiba,” later became the first ever South African president, serving from 1994-1999.

Rock and Roll artists have long been associated with Mandela, as many campaigned for his release from prison in throughout the ‘80s, and celebrated when he was finally granted his freedom in 1990.

Yesterday and today, those artists and others have started to reflect on Mandela’s influential life.

U2 recently recorded the theme for the biopic, Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, entitled “Ordinary Love.” Yesterday, frontman Bono penned an in-depth piece for Time World about the man who inspired him to become an activist himself, and later became his friend.

“He had humor and humility in his bearing, and he was smarter and funnier than the parade of world leaders who flocked to see him. He would bait his guests: ‘What would a powerful man like you want with an old revolutionary like me?’” Bono writes.

Following the news, singer Paul Simon posted on his official website, “Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the twentieth century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace."

Others have taken to social media to mourn the hero’s loss:

Though he was perhaps most revered in his home country, Nelson Mandela certainly had a profound effect on people all over the world. Judging by the wide-spread, emotional reaction to his passing, he will be greatly missed.