Zim's Don Dada bags award on Mandela song

HARARE - Viva Mandela, the official 2017 Nelson Mandela Day song composed by South Africa-based hip- hop artiste Don Dada, has been certified gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa).

Risa certifies an album gold after 20 000 copies have been shipped to retailers and platinum after 40 000 copies have been sent to the market.

An elated Don Dada, who is widely regarded to have been the first person to learn in a government school (Avondale Primary) with dreadlocks in 1993, has described the gold award as an endorsement of his career.

“This is some really good news. Viva Mandela has gone gold within two months of release. I have already received the official Risa Gold certificate and plaque,” the Zimbabwe-born hip hop artiste said.

Don Dada, born Menelik Nesta Gibbons, who relocated to South Africa with his family when he was in Grade Two, recently told the Daily News his song was unlike previous ones that have been dedicated to Mandela.

“Most of the Mandela songs are sad and I wanted to make mine more upbeat.

“I wanted to change the way we think about the man who brought freedom to South Africans,” said the 30-year-old musician who has not cut his hair since he was born.

Viva Mandela, which has a distinct Dada flavour incorporating hip-hop and reggae, was released last year ahead of the Nelson Mandela Day which falls on July 18 — the day the late South African liberation icon was born in 1918.

Despite being based in South Africa for over two decades, Don Dada still cherishes his Zimbabwean roots.

“I was the first Zimbabwean in 1993 (after a big fight) to learn in a government school (Avondale Primary) with dreadlocks…I still have the hair that I was born with to this day.

“My connection to Zimbabwe is mentioned in most of my songs and I visit yearly. I am friends with Zimbabwean artistes like Mc Chita Herby Dangerous and many others. I think Zimbabwean artistes are extremely talented and their song writing is second to none,” said Don Dada.

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