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Thank you Woolworths for the most touching tribute

Last night I was discussing the Mandela memorial with my husband and eldest daughter.  I was expressing my feeling that the memorial felt very hollow to me.  So many words, so much ego and politics and the music was nothing special.  I said that I would have loved to see Soweto Gospel Choir there or Johnny Clegg.  Domi then told me about the flash mob which was done by Woolworths, the Soweto Gospel Choir dressed as Woolworths employees started singing the Johnny Clegg song Asimbonanga and the result was beyond beautiful.  Watching the YouTube clip I was moved to tears for the first time since Madiba’s death.  ‘Asimbonanga’ almost always moves me to tears anyway as I wrote in a recent post about songs which touch me deeply.

I’ve seen criticism toward Woolworths for doing this but I strongly disagree with the critics, this was beautiful, touching and moving.   The combination of a brilliant song, the most awesome choir and ordinary people was absolutely perfect.  So what if it was a marketing success, WW are a business but they have also said that their stores will be closed on Sunday when the funeral takes place, they will be loosing out on festive season profit, the critics should cut them some slack.  This made my day, thank you Woolworths.

These are the lyrics, the song is about Nelson Mandela
Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang’ uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph’ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph’ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
Look across the Island into the Bay
We are all islands till comes the day
We cross the burning water

Chorus….

A seagull wings across the sea
Broken silence is what I dream
Who has the words to close the distance
Between you and me

Chorus….

Steve Biko, Victoria Mxenge
Neil Aggett
Asimbonanga
Asimbonang ‘umfowethu thina (we have not seen our brother)
Laph’ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph’wafela khona (In the place where he died)
Hey wena (Hey you!)
Hey wena nawe (Hey you and you as well)
Siyofika nini la’ siyakhona (When will we arrive at our destination)

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