A-list celebrities joined the Global Citizen Festival red carpet on Sunday ahead of the highly acclaimed music festival.
Thousands of South Africans gathered to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary.
The all-star line-up concert led by Beyoncé marks 100 years since the birth of South Africa’s first black president.
This is a man who spent 27 years behind bars and came out with no bitterness, who does that? And then becomes president of the country, oh we bow down to him always.
Model, Naomi Campbell said, “I’ll never forget to be part of something where the young generation get to learn about the great man himself, Nelson Mandela and what he wanted and what he taught us, who he was, what he sacrificed for us and what he wanted to achieve which is ending poverty in 2030, it’s amazing that now through music in this event, they can understand and take action – they are global citizens, they have a voice and they can use it in the right way.”
For her part, television personality, Gayle Kings noted that they reverence Mandela.
“This is a man who spent 27 years behind bars and came out with no bitterness, who does that? And then becomes president of the country, oh we bow down to him always.”
Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela, said the festival is a re-establishment of Mandela’s legacy not only for South Africans but the rest of the continent.
“As South Africans we hold really dearly the legacy of Tata (Mandela) and I think this is a kind of re-establishment not just us as South Africans but as Africans, finding our commonality, realising just how amazing our continent is and where our continent is going.”
The initiative materialized after two years, according to Global Citizen CEO, Hugh Evans.
“Well this has been two years in the making. Kweku and I had this dream two years ago and he said to me this marks Mandela’s 100th anniversary. And Global Citizen has been something that Kweku and I partnered on for a very long time and when Chris Martin made his 15 year commitment to help take the festival firstly to India and last year to Germany, we just knew that to mark arguably the greatest global citizen of our time, Nelson Mandela – his 100th anniversary, it just had to be here.”
Other organizations keen on tackling poverty hope the ideals of Madiba help shape mentalities.
“We as the Motsepe Foundation, partnered with them because our work has been anchored around poverty alleviation, around ensuring that our young people get education and skills so that they can become employable or they can become self-employed and it’s really been about focusing on the poor and marginalised in our country and on the continent,” said Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe of the Motsepe foundation.
Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black Head of State after serving 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid movement.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate died on December 5, 2013 at 95.