Celebrate the Life of Nelson Mandela in Your Class

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” ~Nelson Mandela

Our world is a better place because of this man. If you are the type to celebrate special moments in history, or the passing of great people from our world in your cycling classes, you’ll want to use this song by The Specials.¬†While it’s an old one, written and released during Mandel’s captivity, it has great relevance right now.

Here is a description of the song and the songwriter from Wikipedia.

“Nelson Mandela” (known in some versions as “Free Nelson Mandela”) is a song written by Jerry Dammers and performed by his Coventry-based band The Special A.K.A. – with lead vocal by Stan Campbell – released on the single Nelson Mandela/Break Down The Door in 1984 as a protest against the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela by the apartheid South African government. Unlike most protest songs, the track is upbeat and celebratory, drawing on musical influences from South Africa. The song reached No.9 in the UK charts and was immensely popular in Africa.

What an amazing man. Can you even imagine 27 years in prison?

The song is available on most music sources.

Do you have any other ideas of great songs for a tribute ride in honor of Mandela?


  1. Hi Jennifer
    I am South African and Sunday Morning I did a tribute ride to Mandela (Madiba) I started the class with this song, It is truly amazing when there is silence and all you hear is this amazing African music. And then when you think it is finished he calls Nelson Mandela on stage and he says a few words (put it really loud )
    emotional !!!!
    here is the youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGS7SpI7obY And the last 6 min of the ride I played the National Anthem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFW7845XO3g It was very moving for all.
    I have a lot of South Africans in my class, but the Canadiands loved it too.
    thanks for all you do for us

    Sharon xxxx

    1. beautiful. thanks for sharing this!

  2. This was my playlist from this morning’s class (45 minute format). I didn’t want to share it until I knew how it worked out. Everyone, everyone loved it. I was pleasantly surprised!

    I started the class with the quote from above.

    Some song were picked for obvious reasons, others picked because they were sung at the 70th birthday celebration when Mandela was still in prison.


    Nelson Mandela (Special AKA) – warm up
    Ain’t no mountain high enough – countinue warm up
    Mandela Day (Simple Minds) – flat road, fast, powerful, resistance increases 3 times or so through out the song
    They Dance Alone (Sting) – climb. The song is slower than we usually climb to. I encouraged my students to find a challenging climb resistance, not necessarily to go with the beat as usual. Resistance increases every minute, working toward the point where you want to stand but can manage, with focus, to stay seated.
    Ordinary Love (U2) – recovery
    Mandela (Santana) – fast flat, power
    Biko (Peter Gabriel) – climb. Again much slower than normal. Start sitting, stand every time there is the chorus (biko…biko)
    Where The Streets Have No Name (U2) – cool down
    Let’s Stay together (Maroon 5 or Al Green) – stretch

  3. Mandela Day by Simple Minds (strong, powerful flat road)
    Ordinary Love by U2 (recovery, cool down)
    Mandela by Santana (fast flat, power)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *