Getting Your Message Across – a lesson from the Nelson Mandela Concert
This is an anecdote from my Rainmaking Course. I watched these events
unfold on my TV at the time and was struck by the inability of a huge number
of people to get their message across.
In June 1988 there was a Nelson Mandela 70th birthday tribute concert held at
Wembley Stadium. This concert was televised in 67 countries and seen by
600 million people. Many believe this concert played an important role in
freeing Nelson Mandela and bringing the end to the apartheid regime in South
In April 1990, two months after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela made
his first international trip to appear at a second Wembley Concert. Like the
first concert, there were many popular groups, singers and comedians and the
concert lasted several hours. At the end of the concert Nelson Mandela and
his entourage walked onto the Wembley stage. The response from the
packed stadium was heart stopping. They gave Mandela a standing ovation
which just went on and on. For eight minutes they cheered and clapped while
Nelson Mandela and his party looked out to the crowd. Suddenly, someone
started to sing “You’ll never walk alone”. Within seconds the whole of
Wembley Stadium took up this poignant song – the sound was the most
incredible I have ever heard.
Nelson Mandela turned to Miriam Makeba in his party and asked, “What are
“It’s a football song” she replied.