The 2018 festive season kicked off in novel fashion with the eagerly anticipated Global Citizen Festival at the FNB stadium on Sunday 2 December. It was a complete vaab as expected and certainly did not disappoint. With a surprise MC role for Trevor Noah and billions of Rands raised for humanitarian and philanthropic causes, Global Citizen’s inaugural South Africa tour will live long in our collective memories.

The FNB stadium was nearly packed to capacity with well over 70 000 people in attendance to celebrate the legendary Nelson Mandela’s centenary. Multichoice ensured the historic event, brought about in part by the Motsepe Foundation, was broadcast globally. The Motsepe foundation pledged to donate R3.5 billion to the contentious land reform issue in South Africa.

“What we are going to do, as the Motsepe family, is we are going to contribute R3.5 billion to help with the process of land reform in this country. The amount is about US250 million,” Motsepe said.

“We want to give a moment of hope; we want to give a moment of inspiration for all of the people of this rainbow nation. We are coming together as leaders in South Africa. We are coming together in unity as leaders and are committed to working together to ensure that the current land reform process will result in land with the requisite support and skills being made available to black people living in rural areas,” he said.

People in attendance at the Global Citizen Festival 2018

Global Citizen prides itself on the organisation’s goal of eradicating poverty by 2030. As honourable an achievement as that would be, it’s probably unrealistic at best. It is, however, the little things that count and what is more realistic, is ensuring that people’s basic needs of food and sanitation are met. Gender equality is also a large focus area for Global Citizen. Nelson Mandela said “like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural; it is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

Pharrell Williams, Cassper Nyovest, Usher and Ed Sheeran were among the stand-out performers who got the crowd jumping. In a characteristically superstar-like performance, Cassper did more than just keep the crowd up for Jay Z and Beyoncé – he got Chris Martin to co-perform his song Malume in vernacular as well as their new song together with Stormzy, Timbuktu. People were understandably hysterical when the chart-topping Carters eventually took to the stage in an enthralling performance.

The Carters performing at Global Citizen Festival 2018

The event was certainly imbued with the charitable spirit of Mandela and was the latest high profile example of the proverbial “rainbow nation”. As the world moves towards a globalised community, hopefully people will lend themselves to a greater cause. South Africans can look forward to more Global Citizen concerts like the one just experienced.

By Zimbeni Mphande