Abdullah Ibrahim – Mannenberg

Filmed in 1987, Abdullah Ibrahim describes in this interview how the iconic track “Mannenberg” came into being and performs it live. Taken from the BBC Arena film “A Brother with Perfect Timing.”

Mannenberg” is a Cape jazz song by South African musician Abdullah Ibrahim, first recorded in 1974. Driven into exile by the apartheid government, Ibrahim had been living in Europe and the United States during the 1960s and ’70s, making brief visits to South Africa to record music.

The piece was created while the apartheid government of South Africa was forcibly removing Coloured families from their homes as part of the destruction of District Six.

It later became identified with the struggle against apartheid […]

Today, it is still a beloved anthem of hope, resistance and resilience and a celebration of human dignity in the face of brutality and evil. We can also hear in those entrancing chords and ebullient Cape jazz rhythms a life-affirming joy and the desire to survive against all odds.
Nowadays, the township of Manenberg may be synonymous with poverty, crime and violence, but Mannenberg the album stands as a musical monument to both a sublime jazz genius and the intrinsic nobility and grandeur of the human spirit.

The song that fought apartheid

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