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Young girl’s anthem for Madiba

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Shopprice South Africa

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Ella Grealy, 12, had no idea her puttering on the piano would result in an anthem for the 67 Blankets for Mandela campaign.

 

With lyrics edged  by songwriter Neill Solomon and voices added by music industry heavyweights PJ Powers, Tim Moloi and Proverb, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela The Anthem was released on iTunes last week for R7.99.Ella, a Grade 7 pupil at Clifton Prep in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, was ecstatic and slightly overwhelmed when her lyrics, combined with those of two inmates, Ntutuzelo Mdingi and Nkosinathi Majola from the Zonderwater Prison in Gauteng, were arranged into a song. The inmates have previously knitted blankets for the campaign.

Ella said it was a “great honour”.”It’s not something usual for a normal girl to write a song and for it to be used in such a big campaign. I’m hoping that it will help raise money for it.”Ella’s actor dad Brendan Grealy, who has starred in local movies such asThe Angel, The Bicycle and The Chinaman’s Finger and Jock: A True Tale of Friendship, said: “I thought it would be great if Ella’s lyrics were used for an official song for the 67 Blankets for Mandela campaign.” He approached his friend Solomon to hone the lyrics into a song.

Ella is the goddaughter of Carolyn Steyn, the founder of the campaign, which has gained momentum since Steyn launched it two years ago.In 2013 she was challenged by Mandela’s former assistant Zelda la Grange to make 67 blankets in time for his birthday on July 18 the following year.Steyn took the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day campaign to Facebook, reaching beyond South Africa to India, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Ghana. Since then thousands of blankets have been hand-crafted and, with the help of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the blankets have been distributed to old-age and children’s homes.

American music producer Nate Butler, who has worked with the likes of Luther Vandross, originated another variation of the song, featuring the vocals of The Voice USA finalist Blaze Johnson and Moloi. This variation is also selling on iTunes for R7.99.”That world-famous recording artists agreed to perform is testament to how highly people regard Steyn’s 67 Blankets initiative,” said Brendan.

 

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