Singer, songwriter, and musician, Ambasa Mandela, popularly known as Mandela, is renowned for his unique and powerful voice, the message in his music, and his high energy performances.
Growing up as an orphan boy in the slum of Mathare is not a unique story in modern-day Nairobi, Kenya. However, Ambasa Mandela’s experiences gave depth to his story telling, lyrics and music as his songs share real stories, activate thought-provoking conversations and build on inspiration.
Mandela’s journey into music started off at an early age, where he was discovered and scouted at the age of 11, to perform at a children’s festival in Europe. He claimed his space as an exceptional artist and artistic entrepreneur , using music as the language of his expression and a way out of the slums. Music took centre stage in Mandela’s life and with his newfound exposure, eventually he chose to pursue a full-time career in music.
Mandela’s experiences and triumphs as a former member of a successful internationally recognised band called Sarabi, is a unique one. As the dynamic and talented lead singer of Sarabi, Ambasa Mandela wrote and composed most of their songs. Mandela’s musical ability saw Sarabi rise to become one of East Africa’s most popular live bands and had a successful tour where they delighted audiences in East Africa and in Europe.
From 2016, Ambasa Mandela began to pursue his solo career. He has since released his first singles in a 6-track EP titled ‘Ona Sasa’ in October 2017.
At its core, Mandela’s music can be described as real African fusion. A blend of traditional East African rhythms alongside Benga, fused with Afro beat, Jazz and a dash of Reggae, Mandela’s unique sounds and lyrics are not only magical and engaging but also emotional, addictive and truth hitting.
Apart from winning awards such as the 2015 Ambassador in the Africa Artist Peace Initiative and the Up Nairobi’s Urban Perspective Best Social Entrepreneur, Mandela’s social commentary through his music, inspires both young and old. Mandela is a dedicated teacher, comedian, and mentor.
With over 10 years’ experience working as a singer, songwriter, and performing artist, Ambasa Mandela works with children and young people all around the East African region and beyond. Mandela’s devotion to spreading love and peace through his music together with his unique style, has proven to be inspirational and is fast catching.
From 2018, Ambasa Mandela has been working on writing lyrics and composing for his new album that is to be released at the end of 2019. He is also managing his newly founded organisation, MA|RA|MA|SO, that is an incubation program created for artists to share knowledge, skills and their experiences in a safe and creative space.