I’ve been inspired to post this entry to myrockdatediary today by reading a post by my blogging buddy, Marcia Mayne, at Inside Journeys. She’s just been to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and posted her experience on her blog.
It was on Monday 18th April 1990 when the International Tribute for a Free South Africa took place. It was held at Wembley Stadium.
Peter Gabriel had first raised my awareness of issues in South Africa, with his song Biko, so when this tribute was announced and I found out that Peter Gabriel would be there, it was a must see as far as I was concerned.
I can’t remember all of the artists that were there, but there are a number of highlights that will always stick in my mind.
Neil Young – Rocking in the Free World
Tracy Chapman & Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up
Tracy Chapman – Talking About a Revolution
Peter Gabriel – Biko
The most memorable part of the concert was when Nelson Mandela appeared on stage at the end. When he walked onto the stage, everybody in the stadium stood up and clapped and cheered for about 15 mins. He then delivered a 30 minute speech, totally unscripted, during which he kept the audience’s full attention.
Apparently there were 74,000 people in the stadium and the event was broadcast all over the world to about 500 million people.
Although this wasn’t the best of concerts musically, it was definitely the most important, I was there when history was being made.