“And the seagull’s name was Nelson ” ..

“And the seagull’s name was Nelson ” ..

All seagulls are called ‘Nelson’ …  to us anyway 😉   In 1971 there was a very well-known song by South African folk singers Des and Dawn Lindberg about a little boy who rescued an oil soaked seagull from the sea.  Since then all seagulls are called ‘Nelson’.  Our children always referred to them as ‘Nelsons’  and still do 🙂

December 2013 – I have noticed I am getting several hits on this post since Madiba’s death  .. I would think it’s because of the name ‘Nelson’ .   Even though the song is about a little boy who rescued an oil soaked seagull from the sea, it’s actually about Nelson Mandela who was at that time on Robben Island, serving his sentence, and where he stayed for 18 of his 27 years in jail.  Anything to do with the ANC and it’s followers were banned in this country, be it articles, songs, etc.  This was the Lindberg’s way of  expressing their feelings and that the feelings of the majority of the South African people.     

A ‘Nelson’ perched himself on the railing next to our lunch table at Quay Four at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town …

“Me?   … are you talking about me ? ”  !!!

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” let me shoo away my buddies so you can get my best side ”

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” wait  .. I’m not ready ..”

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”  … holding still for my portrait shoot … ”

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” .. perfect !!!   ”

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‘….. I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away … ‘
R. Kelly

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Flying ‘Nelsons’  were captured in Hermanus

Disclaimer :  As regards the link between the song ‘The Seagull’s name was Nelson’ by Des and Dawn Lindberg and Nelson Mandela’s incarceration, I need to add that the interpretation of the lyrics was explained on a radio programme many years ago.  I have not had any contact with the Lindberg’s to verify this fact. 

5 Replies to ““And the seagull’s name was Nelson ” ..”

  1. You mentioned a lot of hits on your site this month. As there was no mention of this song on in the UK media, I wanted to refresh my memory on the lyrics. I think that its importance is unknown outside SA.

  2. I was looking for the ‘story’ behind the song. I don’t believe it has anything to do with Nelson Mandela. I can’t see any link to him via the lyrics.

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