Nelson Mandela likes Queen

Day 07 - A Song That Reminds You of a Certain Event

At the end of my month studying in England in June 2008, our group decided to get tickets for a once in a lifetime opportunity - Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday party. The concert was a massive outdoor festival of music and celebration in Hyde Park with 46664 - Mandela's prison number - people in attendance. The concert went on for hours, hosted by Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and featuring musicians from around the world, including Josh Groban. Another one of my favourite celebs, Stephen Fry, spoke eloquently about the inspiration that Mandela has been around the world. Mandela himself, stooped with age but smiling like young child, spoke briefly.

At the end of the concert, the band Queen - or what remains of it - finished their set with "We Are the Champions." Previously, the song had mostly annoyed me because they played it over the PA whenever a sports team won something at my high school. But as I stood there in Hyde Park, the fading light kissing the faces of my new and dear friends with whom I had spent the most amazing month of my life, the entire audience holding hands and swaying together, belting out the lyrics "We are the champions, my friends / And we'll keep on fighting to the end / ... No time for losers / Cuz we are the champions of the world," I have never felt so simultaneously empowered and humbled. It was truly one of the greatest moments of my life.

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