Australian Story: Mandawuy Yunupingu

yyMonday night’s Australian Story will see Jimmy Little as guest presenter for an episode on Mandawuy Yunupingu, lead singer of Yothu Yindi.

Mandawuy Yunupingu has been an international rock star, Australian of the Year and an inspirational educator. But is he facing his greatest challenge yet?

Two years ago he was diagnosed with kidney disease.

Mandawuy Yunupingu is the face of one of the hottest Australian bands in history. Their political content and unique sound combining rock music with ancient song cycles in hits like Treaty, Djapana and World Turning has won Yothu Yindi critical acclaim and fans all over the world.

Back home, Mandawuy maintained his role as an inspirational community leader by becoming the first Aboriginal person from Arnhem Land to gain a tertiary degree; implementing a ground‐breaking crossculture curriculum as Headmaster of Yirrkala Community School and honoured as Australian of the Year (1992). School holidays were devoted to tours with the likes of Midnight Oil and Neil Young.

By 1992, album sales went multi‐platinum and a string of music awards and major tours of North America, the UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia followed.

“Mandawuy always made it clear that the band was about a whole lot of other things besides just trying to get to the top of the charts,” reflects Paul Kelly on Australian Story.

Two years ago, the music stopped when Mandawuy received some news that changed his life. He was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease.

Now his priorities have changed, but he’s still a man with a message and he’s on a new mission – to share vital health information across remote indigenous communities where kidney disease is rife. Is this his greatest challenge yet?

Australian Story airs 8pm Monday on ABC1.

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