Some of the biggest superstars in the world gathered together to make happen the Global Citizen Festival over the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa. This year’s event was held to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s hundredth birthday and the FNB Stadium was full to capacity. Global Citizen Festival held on December 2 and it had in attendance some of the biggest names in African and world music.
African acts like Femi Kuti, Wizkid, D’banj, and Tiwa Savage graced the stage along with other top international acts like South African Rapper, Cassper Nyovest, Ed Sheeran, Usher, Pharrell, and Chris Martin, lead vocalist of Coldplay. The cherry on the cake however was the appearance of music power couple, Jay Z and Beyonce, who had their first performance in Africa.
Oprah Winfrey was also on hand to give an inspiring speech about Nelson Mandela, she spoke about her 2002 invite to spend 10 days and nights with Nelson Mandela and how she had her daily three course meal together with Madiba, she mentioned that at the end of her stay she came to a conclusion the he is “A friend” which happens to be a term she hardly uses to describe anyone, she was inspired to refer to his as that after experiencing his humility, nobility, tenderness, and courage.
Let’s take a look at how the various stars performed.
The “Mavin” Queen came on stage with a multicolored dress and blew the crowd away with scintillating performances of songs like Eminado, Diet, Girlie O, and All over.
The first son of Afrobeat legend, Fela, thrilled the crowd with his son, Made Kuti by his side. The crowd was serenaded by his unique performances. The response of the crowd showed that Femi has definitely attained legendary status.
The “Ojuelegba” crooner who is also one of the biggest acts on the continent currently was one of the first to grace the Global Citizen Festival 2018 stage. He performed some of his biggest hits like Soco, Soweto baby, Daddy yo, and of course Ojuelegba.
Popularly referred to as the “Kokomaster” graced the stage with his signature mouth organ. He held nothing back as he performed songs like Oliver Twist, Emergency and Fall in love. The superstar also performed with the Mzazi Youth Choir.
Usher is known for his electric yet sleek stage performances and this was nothing short of both. He blew the crowd away with songs like Without you which he performed to South African DJ’s “We dance again.” Usher amazed everyone when he dropped local dance moves, namely the gwara gwara and the yosho.
Jay Z and Beyoncé
The power couple’s performance was definitely the highlight of everyone’s evening. We all know Beyoncé for dancing and singing, this time she did something different that caught everyone off guard. She rapped! The couple had performed a few songs off their “On the run II” tour and then when Beyoncé got to Apeshit, she rapped her verses which just threw the crowd into untold excitement. To cap it all the couple brought along surprise artists to perform with them onstage. Their surprise guests include Ed Sheeran, who performed a duet with Queen “B” and Pharrell Williams.
Jay Z and Beyoncé added a bit of home spice to their performances by incorporating some local elements. For example, they took some inspiration from Mariam Makeba’s “Malaika” and performing Beyonce’s “Halo” with the Soweto Gospel Choir. Their outfits were also made with an African touch as Jay Z wore a beaded scarf making him look like Xhosa royalty while Beyoncé wore a winged beaded corset that spotted the South African colors.
All we can say is “Mufasa,” as he is fondly called, “stole the show.” The South African Rapper brought the house down with the performance of his hit track “Tito Mboweni.” He also performed with Chris Martin of Coldplay, doing the song “Malome” along with the Mahotella Queens.
Hugh Evans and Ryan Gull established the Global Citizen Festival in 2012 with the aim of raising funds and eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030. By way of definition, a “Global Citizen” is a person who believes that by concerted action an end can be brought to extreme poverty all over the world.