Wadham commemorates Nelson Mandela

Wadham College has marked the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

News of his death broke after the Wadham Christmas concert on Thursday. A crowd congregated and the song Jerry Dammers song Free Nelson Mandela was played after a minute’s silence.

The college has ended every bop since 1987 with this tradition, known as “Mandelaing”.

Student Braden O’Neill said that “at least a hundred people walked past us down Parks Road towards Wadham, but were turned away by the porters as they attempted to enter.”

The college also flew its flag at half-mast on Friday.

Joe Miles, a second-year PPE student at Wadham, said that in addition to singing along students sometimes pair up, with one carrying the other on his or her shoulder.

“We did this to mark his passing as a sort of tribute. Personally I think it was a nice way to commemorate him; I know people with South African friends who were genuinely touched by the reaction from Wadham,” said Miles.

The song was written a few years prior to Mandela’s release in protest against his imprisonment, and was a hit both in the UK and across Africa.

The tradition of playing the song at every bop until his release was established by a motion in the JCR, but it has persisted much longer than his 27 years in prison.

Mandela died aged 95 after a long illness.