Bono writes essay paying tribute to Nelson Mandela

U2 frontman says former South African leader was a "forceful presence" in his life

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U2 frontman Bono has written an essay paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday (December 5).

In the piece, Bono pays tribute to Mandela's influence as a leader and explains that he has been inspired as an activist by following the former South African president's lead.

On Blogs – Freedom Songs: How Nelson Mandela Used Music To Change The World

In his essay, written for Time and titled 'The Man Who Could Not Cry', Bono writes affectionately about Mandela and says: "As an activist I have pretty much been doing what Nelson Mandela tells me since I was a teenager. He has been a forceful presence in my life going back to 1979, when U2 made its first anti-apartheid effort. Over the years we became friends. I, like everyone else, was mesmerised by his deft maneuvering as leader of South Africa."

Earlier this year U2 released two new songs from the forthcoming Nelson Mandela biopic, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. The release of the two new tracks, titled 'Ordinary Love' and 'Breath', coincided with the release of the Mandela biopic, which features actor Idris Elba in the lead role.

A huge outpour of tributes followed the news of the death of Nelson Mandela last night, with artists such as R Kelly, Dizzee Rascal, Chuck D, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar all posting tributes online via Twitter and various other forms of social media.

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