Can you remember the feelings of love and patriotism in the air during the 2010 FIFA World Cup? Multiply that by three and you will come close to the spirit that filled the FNB stadium during the Global Citizen concert last night. The disaster that ensued afterwards was an extremely regrettable end to a night that was about music, ending poverty and celebrating the life of Madiba. The night also felt like a celebration of women, which is long overdue. These were our favourite moments from inside the stadium, before events took a turn for the worse.
1. Naomi Campbell introducing Wizkid and D’banj
We already consider the beauty a South African citizen, and loved the way Naomi wore this West African-influenced doek and Xhosa-inspired facial art.
She introduced West African artists Wizkid and D’banj, and reminded us why Madiba had so much love for her as she attempted a variety of local languages on stage, getting the crowd to say ‘Amandla’!
Mam’ Winnie would have been proud.
2. Wizkid and Moonchild Sanelly
Wizkid’s star has catapulted him to global status, which made him one of the acts we all looked forward to seeing. And although he brought the crowd, he decided to share the stage with up-and-coming artist Moonchild Sanelly, which is admirable.
She currently has a hit song ‘iWalk ye Phara’ featuring DJ Maphorisa (who also shared the stage with the two), which you will often hear in adverts.
3. Sho Madjozi’s moment
Right near the end of the night, Oprah said ‘Sing your song! Sing it loud and in your own way!’
Although Sho Madjozi’s performance took place before Oprah’s speech, this quote captured the young artist’s career. Sho is outspoken about embodying her culture in every form, as Tsonga is a poorly represented culture in the mainstream creative space. Her performance at Global Citizen reminded us of the importance of embracing ourselves fully and allowing the world to catch up later, which it has in Sho’s case.
4. Danai Gurira getting announced as a UN ambassador
We were already excited to see actress and activist Danai back on home soil. The icing on the cake came when executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, announced Danai as a new UN global ambassador for women, and we could not imagine any other warrior more equipped for the role.
5. Oprah’s tear-jerking speech
Ms Winfrey dazzled in mellow yellow looking like a sun goddess straight from heaven.
Her address was one of the biggest surprises of the night as she took us to church on a Sunday evening. She reflected on her time spent with Nelson Mandela, which inspired her to open the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. The powerhouse was almost brought to tears as she encouraged us all to find a cause and do something.
‘Leave here dreaming big!’ she said. ‘Your legacy isn’t one big great gesture waiting to happen, but it is every hand you touch. Open someone’s world to new possibilities!’
6. Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe
‘Education is the key that eradicated poverty, disease, unemployment and hopelessness. Women are the foundation and corner stone,’ said Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
As the co-founder of the Motsepe Foundation, she pledged a donation of 100 million US dollars to the Global Citizen goal.
With the rise of cancer in Africa, including breast cancer in women, there is a shortage of access to modern medicine. Global Citizen board member and tech entrepreneur Sean Parker also announced that three pharmaceutical companies have pledged to creating access in order to fight the disease.
7. Trevor Noah
Although mostly women were honoured and celebrated, Trevor Noah was a whole moment on his own. He made the audience laugh and left us feeling touched and inspired. Trevor did a stellar job hosting the event and reminded us of the possibilities of dreaming. He has become one of our greatest talent exports and we understand why.
8. Cassper Nyovest
Cassper had the crowd going wild. He brought multimedia elements into his performance, showing us snippets of interviews and the journey it has been. His energy and ability to get a packed crowd dancing shows us why he successfully filled up Moses Mabhida Stadium the night before. Cassper made us proud, and his was a perfect performance before Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
Although the Beyoncé performance deserves its own think piece, I had to sneak it in here. Side note: I saw her thighs in real life, they are definitely not airbrushed. Queen Bey brought all the energy and even gave us a treat by throwing it back to some of her older songs, our favourites! Her fashion was inspired by Love, which is the theme of their current On The Run II tour, but she also brought some South African flavour. Our national flag has never looked so good in a beaded format as seen below, with Ndebele-inspired neck and arm pieces.
Having one of the world’s greatest performers in front of me was an experience I believe everyone deserves at least once in their lives. King Bey and Jay even played a South African-inspired ‘Gqom’ mix interlude during an outfit change. Local imagery played in the background and the dancers celebrated black South African culture too.
The most exciting part was that we got to experience the love the couple have for each other, from laughs in between performances to hugs, kisses and plenty of gazing into each other’s eyes.
We also got to see sneak peeks of Beyoncé as a mother with Blue and the twins – videos of the family having fun at home and on holiday were played during an interlude.
We definitely felt the love.
The speeches and performances were amazing, and even better, Global Citizen is achieving its fundraising goals: in total, more than 5.65 million collective actions taken led to 58 commitments announced on the night. 7.2 billion dollars were pledged to end poverty; according to Global Citizen this will assist 137 million people.