How Nelson & Winnie Mandela Inspired Bono's 'Ordinary Love'

Hear the extraordinary tale behind U2's "Ordinary Love."

Bono Golden Globes 2014

Best Original Song winner Bono briefly stole the show — and even made out with Amy Poehler — at the 2014 Golden Globes last night. But it's his and U2's winning composition "Ordinary Love" that's stealing hearts.

The song is based on Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, starring Idris Elba, and was inspired by the love Nelson Mandela had for both his wife, Winnie Mandela, as well as his passion for improving the world from the bottom up.


Nelson and Winnie Mandela had similar ideals, but vastly different approaches to obtaining them. While Nelson urged for peace on both sides of conflicts, especially apartheid, Winnie wasn't as forgiving and patient as her onetime husband. She was accused of orchestrating, both directly and indirectly, the torture of men, women and children — yet was known as the "Mother Of The Nation" and served as the face of her husband while he was locked away, even facing a barrage of arrests and torture of her own.

In the tune, Bono — who shared a long friendship with Nelson Mandela — croons, "I can't fight you anymore / It's you I'm fighting for / The sea throws rock together / But time leaves us polished stones." When left up to interpretation, it can be easily read as Mandela's message to and about the world: We need to stop fighting one another when we all want the same thing; time will heal our battle wounds and enable our struggles to make something beautiful.


Similarly, it can be read as an assessment of Nelson and Winnie Mandela's embattled relationship: Throughout the former South African president's imprisonment, through a separation and divorce, and even until his death, he and Winnie battled both the injustice of apartheid and, to some extent, one another — yet they still loved and respected one another until the very end.

"Ordinary Love" represents U2's sixth Golden Globe nomination, and second win. They previously took home top honors for 2002's "The Hands That Built America" from the film Gangs Of New York


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