Before my dad passed away, I had the chance to show him the film and explain that he was the biggest influence in the moulding of the older Mandela. I moulded how Mandela moved on my old man, they have very similar traits. Tree is the most personal song on this album for me. After spending three weeks in the studio, I knew it was time to write a song that addressed his passing. The perspective is like, "He's gone, man. I wish I could say this to him." And that's how the first lyric came; it was really sort of a love letter to him.
In an increasingly divisive world, and at a time when Europe is alarmingly turning to nationalism and extremist politicians, this tragic teenager, who died nearly 70 years ago and who never got to live out the life she planned, can do more than many politicians to demonstrate how we should live together as members of one human race.
A few years back, I was on tour in Germany. By sheer chance, someone I'd gone to college with was sitting in the audience in Munich. It was a big thrill to see so familiar a face so far from home and as it turned out, Colin had moved with his girlfriend to Dachau. This gave me the incentive I needed to do, something I'd been putting off: which was to visit a concentration camp.
The ANC should be proud of the fact that they have been in power for 20 years, yet Jacob Zuma should see the next five years as a chance to prove to the nation and the world that he doesn't need the steady, moral gaze of Nelson Mandela to keep him in check.
Twenty years ago I was standing in a mixed race voting line, all of us petrified of what lay ahead and now here we are in a democratic South Africa. As a 50 something year old gay white male that has lived in this country his entire life, I can assure you it has been no bed of roses, and is still not anywhere near one.
'What is best' is a difficult and subjective thing to discern, and a challenge that all leaders share. For me, what is best is that which is authentic, which truly serves the brand (which is greater than the sum of its leader and employees), and the long-term sustainability of the organization.
Names often trigger certain ideas in people's minds. Personally, Mandela is a euphemism for hope, equality and freedom.
To end a week of diversity focused events, the BBC hosted Mandela Lectures- three speakers, three ideas, One quote.
Of the 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, 3.7 million are of working age (16 - 64) Have you wondered just how young deaf people manage to lead normal lives? Yes, yes you have.
In the epoch of the twitterati - when culture is more and more served to us in palatable, postmodern, bite-sized fragments, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is pure old-school - providing the grand narrative of a life very much in the style of the epic film of yore - think Ghandi or Ben-Hur, for instance.
Dr. Abdel Mawgud Dardery enters the café in Cricklewood wrapped up in a Manchester United scarf, with the Rabaa badge prominently pinned on his jacket. Dardery has become a nomad wandering from country to country unable to return to Egypt after his party, the Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation by Sisi's military junta...
What might be the basis for not accepting second class health? Perhaps because its as innate to our spiritual sense to feel health is natural as it is politically to demand equal rights. "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties," mused Swiss poet and philosopher Henri Frédéric Amiele.
From teachers, carers, nurses and doctors, street sweepers, sales assistants and the like, working in service is an exchange of energy as old as civilisation. Serving one another in some way is a natural human instinct that we all have inside of us and can deliver on daily basis through our individual talents.
My view is that the BBC is simply not transmitting an accurate account of reality. Over the space of the year it has ignored significant news and spun events to present something quite different from what those involved witnessed.
While struggling against Apartheid and then bringing it down, Mandela maintained his core belief in the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of race, religion or gender. He added another element. Irrespective of action. In that he upheld the rhetoric many religions pronounce but rarely live by, many leaders say but rarely deliver. The ability to forgive and move on.
Africa has lost a hero. A hero that fought oppressors, jailers and the international community that once put him on the watch list of terrorists. A man who once shared his dream of a world of Democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance.