Tribute to Nelson Mandela: Mannenberg

On the occasion of Nelson Mandel’s 100th birtday, I am re-posting this, first published on the blog in 2013, following Mandela’s death:

Abdullah Ibrahim’s song ‘Mannenberg is Where It’s Happening‘, released in 1974, is often called South Africa’s “unofficial national anthem” and “the theme tune of the anti-apartheid movement”.

‘Mannenberg’ was an instant hit. However, “the idea that ‘Mannenberg’ the best-seller would someday metamorphose into ‘Mannenberg’ the struggle anthem would have surprised anyone who heard it in 1974. Its struggle credentials are by no means obvious. It is a song with few words, a lilting melody, and a gentle, hypnotic groove. There is, seemingly, nothing angry about it, nothing that would inspire people to stand up to the teargas, whips, and bullets of the apartheid state. And, yet, it did just that.”*

The video shows Abdullah Ibrahim, inter alia, in Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island.

* Mason, John Edwin: Mannenberg: Notes on the Making of an Icon and Anthem, African Studies Quarterly, Volume 9 (2007) 25.

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Düsseldorf: Justice Department vs. Department of Justice

1280px-Justizministerium_in_Duesseldorf-Stadtmitte,_von_NordostenIn other news, the newly elected government of North Rhine Westphalia (Nordrheinwestfalen) in Düsseldorf decided to change the name of the Justice Department (Justizministerium) to Department of Justice (Ministerium der Justiz). Reminds me of Monthy Python‘s The Judean People’s Front, not to be confused with The People’s Front of Judea. When asked in parliament, the government conceded that the name change was neither increasing efficiency nor reducing bureaucracy.

Photo by Jörg Wiegels, showing the department’s building. Built from 1866 to 1870, it originally housed the Düsseldorf District Court (Landgericht).

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The Month in Retrospect: What Else Happened in July

Robert BoyleEvaluation of the Mediation Act

Five years ago, the Mediation Act (Mediationsgesetz) came into force. We did cover the legislative process on the blog in quite some detail. The Act provided for an evaluation to take place at the fifth anniversary. This report has now been published by the Federal Ministry of Justice. Here is a link to the full report, and here is a link to a summary produced by Professor Reinhard Greger, who served as a judge at the Federal Supreme Court before becoming a full-time academic. His summary is critical of the success of the Act: In essence, the total number of mediations remains low, and has not increased significantly since the Act came into force. Only very few mediators can actually earn a meaningful income by providing mediation services. Continue reading

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