Ladysmith Black Mambaza Night Out for 8th Grade

Feb 10th, 2017

The 8th grade has been studying South Africa and as part of our studies we watched the documentary, Under African Skies, which chronicles Paul Simon’s visit to South Africa where he made the Grammy award winning album, Graceland. It was album of the year. In the process of making this album, Paul Simon was criticized for violating the U.N’s cultural boycott of South Africa. This was during the time of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela was still in prison.

While making the album, Paul Simon meets the musicians from a popular South African music group called Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They are featured on the album and toured with Paul Simon. Since that event, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has received 4 Grammys and they are nominated again this year. By coincidence, they happened to be touring and were scheduled to perform in Minneapolis, so 35+ 8th graders and over 20 parents enjoyed pizza in the church community room and hopped on the bus to the state theater to enjoy the show. The 8th graders dressed up and had a very fun night experiencing some African music and dance.

To get an idea of our event, check out this performance: Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

John Pupkes
Middle School Social Studies Teacher