Beyoncé and superstar rapper husband, Jay-Z are billed to lead a star studded concert to mark the 100th year of Nelson Mandela’s birth (the culmination of the Mandela 100 campaign). The December 2nd event which will be held in a free Johannesburg festival by the Global Citizen movement, in partnership with the House of Mandela, to end poverty.
The event which will celebrate the life of the late anti-apartheid icon and also significantly draw a number of world leaders in an attempt to throw a spotlight on fledging efforts to eradicate the world’s worst poverty, will be internationally broadcast, Global Citizen announced Monday.
The founder and CEO of the movement, Hugh Evans said Mandela offered a model for the Global Citizen movement through his magnanimous efforts at racial reconciliation and democracy as well as through his focus on tackling poverty and global health.
“We are deeply inspired by the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela and when Kweku (Mandela-Amuah) approached us a few years ago and said 2018 would marking Nelson Mandela’s 100th anniversary, we knew it would be a historic moment,” said Mr. Evans.
Beyonce and Jay-Z will headline the music at the FNB Stadium alongside several other stars: Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, hit pop producer Pharrell Williams and R&B chart-topper Usher.
The festival will also feature some of the continent’s most popular musicians including South African hip-hop producer Cassper Nyovest and Nigerian artists Wizkid, D’banj and Femi Kuti, who is the son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.
Other A-listers who will be at the festival include Oprah who will deliver the keynote address at the festival, Forest Whitaker, Naomi Campbell, Sir Bob Geldof, Tyler Perry and Gayle King.
Global Citizen said it hoped that the run-up to the festival would raise commitments of $1 billion to help the world’s poorest, with half of the amount aimed at women and girls.
Global Citizen has held festivals since 2012 in New York’s Central Park on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly to rally support, especially among young people, in the fight against poverty. The group has since branched out overseas with seminars and music in India, Germany and elsewhere.
Hugh Evans also said he expected the Johannesburg festival to be the biggest Global Citizen festival ever in terms of reach, symbolism and lineup.
“On every way that we measure outcomes, the number of citizens engaged, the number of policy outcomes that are achieved, the number of lives that are affected as a result of those policy outcomes, we believe it has the potential to be the most significant campaign we’ve ever been part of,” Evans told AFP.
Global Citizen confirmed that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as the leaders of Ghana and Norway plan to attend the December 2nd festival in honor of Mandela, who was born on July 18, 1918.