The Trail

The People

Meet some of the people featured in A LION’S TRAIL.

A headshot of Rian Malan Rian Malan
An award-winning author and journalist, Malan grew up in Johannesburg. He lived in the U.S. for several years in the 1980s, refusing to serve in South Africa’s Apartheid-era army. He is the author of My Traitor’s Heart, about life, death and race in South Africa, as well as the 2000 Rolling Stone article that exposed the controversy behind the “Mbube” copyright. He is still campaigning for justice for the Linda family.

A headshot of Joe Mogotsi Joe Mogotsi
Mogotsi, the leader singer and composer of The Manhattan Brothers, is one of South Africa’s best-known performers. He founded The Manhattan Brothers in the 1950s. The group later toured the world, performing at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration in 1994. Mogotsi left South Africa for England following a London musical performance in the 1960s, and returned to his home country in the late 1990s, after more than 30 years in exile. His return was the subject of the documentary Songs of the Golden City.

Adelaide Nelisiwe Adelaide Nelisiwe
After a prolonged illness, Linda’s daughter Nelisiwe died in June 2001.

A headshot of Delphi Ntslele Delphi Ntslele
A daughter of Solomon Linda, Ntsele was born and raised in South Africa. She is currently a domestic worker in the suburbs of Johannesburg.

A headshot of Elizabeth Ntsele Elizabeth Ntsele
One of Solomon Linda’s daughters, Ntsele works as a nurse at an HIV clinic in Soweto, South Africa.

A headshot of Fildah Ntsele Fildah Ntsele
A daughter of Solomon Linda, Ntsele is a mother, grandmother and sangoma, or traditional healer in South Africa.

A headshot of Pete Seeger Pete Seeger
Seeger is one of American’s best-known folk musicians, and has popularized renditions of folk classics such as “If I Had a Hammer,” “We Shall Overcome” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” A lifelong performer and activist, he first formed The Almanac Singers with Woody Guthrie in the late 1930s. In the 1940s, he formed The Weavers, a folk group who performed the hit “Mbube” variation “Wimoweh.” Seeger’s also established the Clearwater Project, an environmental educational center on his beloved Hudson River.

A headshot of Joseph Shabalala Joseph Shabalala
Born in Ladysmith, South Africa, Shabalala has been singing and playing guitar since he was a teenager, performing with a group called the Devan Choir. In 1964, he formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an all-male isicathamiya singing group featuring friends and family members from his hometown. Since then the group has recorded more then 40 albums and sold millions of copies worldwide, making it the best-selling musical group from Africa. Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s collaboration with Paul Simon on his Graceland album bought Zulu isicathamiya singing to America and to other new audiences.

A headshot of Jay Siegel Jay Siegel
Along with Neil Sedaka, Siegel first joined the group that would be later known as The Tokens at his Brooklyn high school in 1956. The group’s first hit, in 1960, was “Tonight I Fell In Love,” but it is best known for its 1961 song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Siegel and The Tokens later released several other top 40 songs in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, Siegel still tours with a newly revamped version of The Tokens, performing with his son Jared on keyboards.

George David Weiss
Born in New York City, Weiss studied at Julliard and played the violin in several dance bands before beginning his composing career in the 1940s. His best-known composing credits include “What A Wonderful World,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and scores for Broadway musicals including Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Mr. Wonderful. A former president of the Songwriters Guild of America, Weiss suffered a stroke in recent years. (Weiss refused to participate in the making of the film.)


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