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The life and legacy of Nelson Mandela is synonymous with the abolition of apartheid. As the fight to end apartheid raged on while Mandela sat in a Robbin Island prison for 27 years, celebrities became involved in the fight against apartheid in the only way they knew how–entertainment. Lots of musicians who disagreed with the South African racist practice made their stance clear in their music.


In the spirit of celebrating Mandela’s legacy, The Los Angeles Times curated a list of songs that speak to ending apartheid. Take a look at an excerpt below:

Stevie Wonder, “It’s Wrong” (1985)

In 1985, Stevie Wonder was at one of many career peaks, and used that power to expose the injustices occurring in South Africa. Employing exiled South African musicians, Wonder put the rhythmic breakdown that is “It’s Wrong” on his “In Square Circle” album. That same year he was arrested during a Washington, D.C., anti-apartheid protest and dedicated the Oscar he won for the song “I Just Called to Say I Love You” to Nelson Mandela. The South African government responded by banning Wonder’s songs — evidence of their hopeless desperation.

To hear more anti-apartheid songs, please head over to


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Nelson Mandela & Music: 10 Essential Anti-Apartheid Songs  was originally published on