Let's sing in honour of Mandela

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - Next week Monday at 8:05am, about 12 million school children will send one message in one voice through a song in honour of Tata Madiba.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education, LeadSA, SABC and Brand South Africa, launched a massive campaign dubbed 'Let's All Sing for Madiba.'

It is aimed at mobilising South Africa to uniquely celebrate the 93rd birthday of former President Nelson Mandela by singing 'Happy Birthday Tata Madiba' on 18 July 2011.

Speaking at the launch held at Nelson Mandela Foundation on Tuesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said schools have been asked to hoist the national flag and sing Happy Birthday to Madiba.

"The song is led by a school choir [Buhlebemfundo Secondary School] that participated in the National Choir Eisteddfod held last month. It can be downloaded as from tomorrow on all major websites of our partners," Motshekga said.

Motshekga also called on communities to provide practical support to learners, teachers and schools in the form of donating a book to a learner or school to build a life long reading nation; volunteering at a local school or mentoring learners in the family or in the neighbourhood.

On Monday, all schools will first sing the song, and present Mandela's profile before singing the National Anthem.

Motshekga ensured that the morning activities will not disrupt classes. "It will only take five minutes. At 8:15 am, all learners will be in their classrooms."

SABC Group Executive in Sport, Sizwe Nzimande, confirmed that all 18 SABC Radio and three TV channels will be able to get the whole country singing at the same time. The Buhlebemfundo choir will be broadcast singing the song at 8:05 am.

"It takes a while to turn the ship but for this event, it only took a day to finalise everything. It's not about the competition but one of the few things that can bring SABC and Multichoice together," Nzimande said.

Grade 12 learner at Buhlebemfundo, Bongiwe Tshabalala, said she was excited that her school has been recognised for its talents by being chosen to lead the Happy Birthday song.

"I'm happy that our school will be contributing something in honour of Madiba. I wish him a long and healthy life," said Tshabalala.

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