The Special AKA: Nelson Mandela

The historic Nelson Mandela anthem, Kirsten Dunst in anime costume, a lot of NTS radio and more in our look at music this week

As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela this week, we remember his profound spirit through the UK band The Special AKA’s 1984 catchy anthem, “Nelson Mandela”—released as “(Free) Nelson Mandela” stateside. Produced by Elvis Costello, the song fuses the band’s characteristic ska beats and brass with African harmonies, propelled by Stan Campbell’s persuasive voice. Differing from most political protest songs, it is upbeat, positive and danceable. Celebrating Mandela’s future release in a prophetic manner, “Nelson Mandela” raised awareness of the quiet prisoner’s plight and the anti-apartheid movement to a global audience.