The video for "Mandinka" was shown heavily after debuting 24 January 1988 on 120 Minutes on MTV. The single was a mainstream pop hit in the UK, peaking at #17 in the singles chart, #6 in her native Ireland, #24 in The Netherlands, #26 in Belgium, #18 in New Zealand and #39 in Australia.
Sinéad also sang the song live at the 1989 Grammy Awards.
In an interview in The Tech, 12 April 1988, O'Connor said: "Mandinkas are an African tribe. They're mentioned in a book called Roots by Alex Haley, which is what the song is about. In order to understand it you must read the book."