News Brief

Simphiwe Dana Shares New Insights About The Song She Wrote For Winnie Mandela

Simphiwe Dana talks about "Nokunyamezela" in new interview.

During the recording of her live album and DVD, The Simphiwe Dana Symphony Experience (2017), South African singer Simphiwe Dana performed a song she had written for the late apartheid struggle hero Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.


According to Dana, the song was written in 2015, and she went to Madikizela-Mandela's home to give her a personal invite to the album and DVD recording. She also sang her the song at her house.

The artist told the City Press in an interview last week:

"She expressed her gratitude and said she wouldn't miss the performance. I was grateful, but a part of me also knew that the chances of her not attending were quite high, given her frail health. When I was told that she was indeed coming and was actually in the audience before the show started, I was beside myself with joy, nerves and excitement."

The opening lines of "Nokunyamezela" go, "Wabuya etilongweni, wabuya wangena kwenye," which translates to that Mama Winnie left prison only to get into another prison.

Explaining those lines, she says:

"Post-1994, the public relations machine of the Nats [members of the National Party] finally found a way to silence her by accusing her of the murder of a black child of the struggle. Why were we so quick to believe that the mother of the nation was in the business of killing the very kids she got into tussles with apartheid police to protect? We persecuted her. The very people she had sacrificed so much to save."

Read the full interview on the City Press website.

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