This is probably the most recognised face of the last 20-odd years. He will be 90 on 18 July and last night, I sat up and watched the concert celebrating that fact. It was held in Hyde Park, London and featured such artists as Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, Queen, Eddy Grant ("Give Me Hope Johanna") and Simple Minds, to name a few.
There were also the most wonderful African ensembles and singers which, to me, were the highlights of the show, apart from Nelson Mandela's thank you speech, which was simple but rang with the amazing spirit for which he is well known.
Some of the songs brought back a lot of memories for me of those days when the protests against the apartheid system and political prisoners in South Africa was at their peak. Notably the finale of the concert "Free Nelson Mandela". I can remember singing that one in a protest I was in...whether it had any actual impact or not, I still don't know. I guess I can say that, along with protests all over the world, it helped.
The concert was also keeping awareness raised of his organisation, 46664 - his prison number, the 466th prisoner in 1964 - which he founded to work for victims, notably children, of AIDS.
So...that was my Saturday night and a most enjoyable one, too.
Happy birthday, Madiba.