Dammers, who scored a top 10 hit with the track performed by Special AKA, picked up the inspiration award at the 59th Ivor Novello Awards. The song became an anti-apartheid anthem and Mandela, who died in December, was eventually released in 1990.
The annual awards, known as The Ivors, are presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
Other winners include Passenger, whose song ‘Let Her Go’ was named most performed work, and James Blake, who followed last year’s Mercury Award win with a triumph for his track ‘Retrograde’, which won the best contemporary song category.
Veteran guitarist Jeff Beck, whose career included stints with The Yardbirds and working with Stevie Wonder, was presented with the award for outstanding contribution to British music.
There was a lifetime achievement award for Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, while ‘Strong’ by trio London Grammar was named best song musically and lyrically.