On BBC Radio Two, Jo Wiley announced a break in programming …
The news we’d waited for and dreaded came from a solemn-voiced news reader. Nelson Mandela had finally left us. Then, they played that song. THE song.
It doesn’t matter how many times it’s covered, or who by, there is only one version. And one meaning. With my eyes closed, I listened to those beautiful African voices and remembered the news footage I saw as a child of the brutality meted out in South Africa’s townships.
For all those innocent victims, for all those brave souls who fought for a future and for all those voters who put Nelson Mandela where he belonged, at the helm of truth and reconciliation, that song is, was and ever will be your anthem. (Something Inside) So Strong by Labi Siffre is probably the most beautiful and evocative song in the history of music and whichever BBC producer decided it was a fitting tribute to Robben Island’s most famous resident, bravo.
I want to say the world is a greyer place now that Nelson has gone but I would be wrong. He fought and suffered and then gave us a fledgling Rainbow Nation. Time to rest now. Let him go in peace with our gratitude. Night, night, Nelson. Thank you XXX