Celebration and sanctuary as Madiba danced with Miles Davis and me
The music of the jazz great and the example of the father of our freedom are there to inspire you when you need them
On February 24 1990, 13 days after Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, I had a rendezvous with Miles Davis in San Diego, California. This day also happened to be my birthday. I was turning 27. I marvelled at the synchronicity of it — Madiba had just emerged from 27 years of incarceration, and I was marking my 27th anniversary on this planet. And we had Miles to serenade us, metaphysically yoking us together.
Miles played for three unbroken hours. And his entire repertoire that evening was from the two coruscating gems of his post-exile oeuvre, Tutu and Amandla. These two albums are, of course, an ode to our struggle for freedom and justice. The evening became verily and unavoidably a celebration of our long march to freedom, which Madiba’s release symbolised. A freedom struggle that the entire world had mobilised for...