Kwela For Mandela – Randy Rambo En Die Rough Riders (aka Die Naaimasjiene)

From 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Kwela For Mandela – Randy Rambo En Die Rough Riders (aka Die Naaimasjiene) (Prisoner 46664 probably never heard this on its release)

Die Saai Lewe by Die Naaimasjiene
Die Saai Lewe by Die Naaimasjiene

Randy Rambo sounds like a promiscuous machine gun toting all American hero, but he wasn’t, he was Theuns Engelbrecht, a disaffected Afrikaaner growing up during apartheid’s death throes. He and his Rough Riders recorded an album called ‘Die Saai Lewe’ which achieved the unique feat of being the only Afrikaans album to ever be banned in its entirety by the apartheid government. The album was re-released in 1997 but under the guise of Die Naaimasjiene, the group’s new name.

‘Kwela For Mandela’ was one of the tracks on this album and was performed live at the Houtstok Rokfees and sounds like The Aeroplanes recording in a township in the 80’s. It’s got that township bass that I have always imagined is what actually powers the minibus taxis, and the 80’s synthesizers and slightly off key vocals that give it a home cooked feel. There is also a lovely jazzy trumpet interlude.

Of course the lyrics were controversial at the time. No one with a white skin was allowed to give Mandela the time of day, let alone a whole kwela (despite the song not really being kwela), but Randy was prepared to break with tradition and the result was this little gem which, although it got zero attention from the mainstream, was an important building block in the growth of Afrikaans rock music.

by John Samson

Where to find it:

Houtstok Rockfees – Various Artists (LP, 1990), Gallo, HOUT1
Houtstok Rockfees – Various Artists (CD, 1998) Wildebeest, WILD013
Die Saai Lewe – Die Naaimasjiene (1997)

Poseletso – Madiba, We Love You

MP3 of this Madiba Tribute song is available to download exclusively from


This song was originally composed to celebrate MADIBA’s 90th birthday.

Subsequently,  it was developed into a simple anthem of celebration …

POSELETSO is a stunning young South African lady, who dazzled IDOLS views with her stunning vocals.

Her interpretation of the lyric is calm and understated – yet inspirational …

“MADIBA’ is a simple song for a giant of mankind.


The video was made as a collective effort by students at Cape Town’s CITY VARSITY. It was made on a minimal budget – making maximum use of the student’s creativity.

As such, a beautiful, simple and organic feel was achieved – in keeping with the humility of Nelson Mandela.

‘Madiba’ was composed by Patric van Blerk, Natasha Simone & Paul Petersen – and produced by Keith de Kock & Storm FX @ CapeTown Sound in Woodstock.

The song is published by CapeTown Sound / KOHCO.

Resistance Music From Apartheid South Africa


various artists shotdown

1. Shot Down – Cherry Faced Lurchers
2. Pambere – Mapantsula
3. Struggle – The Genuines
4. National Madness – The Aeroplanes
5. Treason – Lesego Rampolokeng with the Kalahari Surfers
6. Hou My Vas Korporaal – Illegal Gathering
7. International News – National Wake
8. Swart September – Koos Kombuis
9. Now is the Time – Mzwakhe Mbuli
10. Spaces Tell Stories – Roger Lucey
11. Sit Dit Af – Gereformeerde Blues Band
12. In Solitary Confinement – Vusi Mahlasela
13. Brain Damage – Corporal Punishment
14. June 16 – The K-Team
15. Suburban Hum – Jennifer Ferguson
16. Reasonable Men – Kalahari Surfers
17. Uhuru – Sankomota
18. Hlanganani – DTMB
19. War Is Declared – The Mamu Players
20. No Easy Walk to Freedom – Tighthead Fourie and the Loose Forwards

“In the early 1980s if you persevered, you could seek out marginal South African musicians playing politically subversive and musically innovative music in a few live venues in the major urban areas. Rarely were such musicians ever recorded by conservative record companies afraid to rock the apartheid boat. Into this void entered Shifty Records, a maverick indie record company co-founded by Lloyd Ross.

…[this compilation] celebrates both the resistance music of the featured musicians and Shifty’s role in capturing and preserving a vibrant and important part of South Africa’s history of cultural resistance.”

Michael Drewett

Available to download at, thanks to Shifty Records

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