Nelson Mandela: 10 Musical Tributes to the Iconic Political Figure


Nelson Mandela and Bono are pictured after meeting at Mandela's home in Johannesburg on May 25, 2002.

Mandela: the three syllables not only refer to the legendary anti-apartheid leader and former President of South Africa, but serve as a modern synonym for equality, freedom and revolution. Nelson Mandela's legacy continues to endure in hearts and history books, and his ideals will continue to serve as inspiration in popular music.

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Today (July 18) marks Nelson Mandela Day, the internationally recognized day of service which is being celebrated for the first time since his death on Dec. 5, 2013. From Public Enemy to Youssou N'Dour to Santana to U2, some of music's biggest stars have tipped their caps to the revered statesman in their songs, albums and even poems. Check out these 10 particularly memorable musician tributes to Nelson Mandela:

U2, "Ordinary Love"

U2 made this heartfelt song for the newly released film "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom," a biopic on the man himself. When "Ordinary Love" dropped weeks ago, it was first new material from the rock band since 2010's "Soon," premiered on the "U2 360 at the Rose Bowl" soundtrack. With lyrics like, "We cannot reach any higher/ If we can't feel ordinary love," Bono tried to embody what Mandela stood for.

Hugh Masekela, "Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)"
The Special A.K.A., "Free Nelson Mandela"
Youssou N'Dour, "Nelson Mandela"
Public Enemy, "Prophets of Rage"
Santana, "Mandela"
Simple Minds, "Mandela Day"

2pac, "Just a Breath of Freedom (4 Nelson Mandela)"
Tupac Shakur's poem acts as a letter of praise to Mandela for his decades of struggle in the name of equal rights. "Held captive 4 your politics/ They wanted 2 break your soul/ They ordered the extermination of all minds they couldn't control," Pac writes about Mandela's journey.

Tracy Chapman, "Freedom Now"
Johnny Clegg, "Asimbonanga"