Hugh Masekela

Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)

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Song Review by Matthew Greenwald

Not only was Nelson Mandela the most famous modern day political prisoner, he was also one of the biggest fans of Hugh Masakela. So great, in fact, that he was able to smuggle a letter to him in April 1985 (for Masakela's birthday) from Pollsmoor Prison, which wished him luck on his recording projects and other good tidings. Masakela was so moved by this letter that he wrote this fabulous anthem, which envisioned Mandela walking freely down the streets of South Africa. The melody is a buoyant, anthemic, and grand series of chords and trumpet riffs, filled with the sense of camaraderie and celebration that are referred to in the lyrics. The vocal choir during the joyous chorus is extremely moving and life affirming. Recorded in 1986 for his Tomorrow album, the song and it's wish became a reality when Mandela was released in 1990, and it was played during his many visits to America following his release, as well as on numerous television broadcasts. A truly classic modern day folk song, it remains a favorite of Masakela's live repertoire and was rightfully included on the fabulous 2001 Columbia collection The Best of Hugh Masakela.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Tomorrow 1987 Warner Bros. 0:00
Discovery Channel: Travel Channel -- Around the World 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 4:38
Greatest Hits 2001 Sony Music 4:44
Grazing in the Grass: The Best of Hugh Masekela 2001 Legacy / Columbia 4:44
Amandla! [Original Soundtrack] 2003
Original Soundtrack
ATO 4:43