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Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Nelson Mandela: 'He Was One of Us'

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Hours after their former president's death, the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo penned a poignant tribute to Nelson Mandela Thursday evening (Dec. 5).

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"The Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has finished his journey. One wants to think in terms of big words when describing him, but this would not be right," the band wrote on its Facebook page. "Among the many things one can say about our Madiba (Nelson Mandela's tribal name) is that he never thought of himself as big. He was one of us, one of the people. His journey was our journey. And although he has physically left us now, his journey continues within us all."

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The South African act, which accompanied the leader to sing upon his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, as well as at his presidential inauguration in 1994, also recalled in the post its trip to Norway for the Nobel Prize awarding and the importance of carrying on Mandela's mission of African -- and world -- peace.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo originated in the 1960s and rose to prominence in America while touring with Paul Simon on his "Graceland" tour in 1987.

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Read the band's full dedication to Nelson Mandela below.

 

"The Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has finished his journey. One wants to think in terms of big words when describing him, but this would not be right. Among the many things one can say about our Madiba (Nelson Mandela's tribal name) is that he never thought of himself as big. He was one of us, one of the people. His journey was our journey. And although he has physically left us now, his journey continues within us all.

Although he was one of us, Mandela was able to change our nation because of his incredible will, dignity and humanity. We are often asked about our most memorable career moments. The expected answer is usually about work with famous entertainers or about winning Grammy Awards. The truth is that our most memorable moment was when Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He asked us to join him on this trip to receive the award in Norway, to sing and to represent our nation. He often said that we are South Africa‘s 'Cultural Ambassadors' to the world. We took this honor very seriously.

Now, it's left for all of us to carry on his mission. We must continue the journey of making not just South Africa, but the whole world, a peaceful, forgiving place. If we all keep Mandela's way within us, we can achieve greatness. As we continue to spread the message of Peace, Love and Harmony, we re-dedicate ourselves to Mandela and his dream of a Rainbow Nation, a Rainbow World, in fact.

May his journey continue in the soul and spirits of all who were touched by him."