The Global Citizen Festival, South Africa

artists from around the world converge in Jo'burg

The Global Citizen Festival, an annual music festival organized by the Global Poverty Project was first held in New York City on September 29, 2012. The headliners included the Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, John Legend, Band of Horses and Neil Young. The festival has since taken its model to Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and Canada and is currently one of the largest, most visible events drawing attention to sustainability and anti-poverty efforts around the world. The festival’s continued mission of ending extreme poverty by 2030 is funded through brand sponsorships and private donations.

This year’s Global Citizen Festival saw significant commitments made towards gender equality and education; the overall pledge from all the commitments was the second highest achieved from any Global Citizen Festival. The main 2018 festival  held at New York City’s central park on September 29 and was headlined by Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, John Legend, Janelle Monae and Cardi B. However, a supplementary festival was thrown in South Africa; birthplace of the Festival’s legacy, Nelson Mandella to commemorate  the centenary of his birth. Beyonce and Jay Z headlined the Johannesburg festival that included  Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Usher, D’Banj, WizKid, Tiwa Savage and South African rappers Casper Nyovest and Sho Madjozi with Trevor Noah as the host.

A major highlight for Nigerian music was Beyonce including a video interlude of her vacation with Jay Z accompanied by Tekno’s “Pana” in her set; a kind of paean we’ve seen be paid with the homage to Fela at Coachella in April. Wizkid, one of the festival’s opening acts performed a number of his global hits like “Ojuelegba”, “Soweto Baby”, “Daddy Yo”, “Soco” and thrilled with a live mash-up with the Soweto gospel choir. D’banj, introduced by supermodel Naomi Campbell, made an entrance like no other with the Mzazi Youth choir before performing a set that included his “Oliver Twist”, “Fall in Love”, “Emergency” and more. Tiwa Savage also took the stage, opening with “All Over” then joined by South African RNB singer, Donald at the close of her set to perform their collaboration, “Raindrops”.

In the days and hours leading up the concert, the Carters, despite their attempts to fly under the radar, hogged the spotlight as it was their first time performing in Africa together. While the concert was broadcast live on television, the Carters performance was exclusive to ticket holders who earned the tickets by volunteering; unfortunately targeted by robbers as they left the stadium for the exclusive show. Both events were underlined by the threat of violence but while the New York’s was a false alarm that left a few injured, Joburg’s wasn’t as lucky and was marred by the reportedly ever-present danger of crime in the city.

The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 brings the year-long collaboration with the House of Mandela to an end. The festival and its proceeds, inspired by the former leader of South Africa and his lifelong dedication to rallying people together to use their collective voices to speak for the most marginalized people will sustainably impact the lives of about 501 million people across the globe by the year 2030.

See the full 8-hour long show below

[mc4wp_form id=”26074″]

Mariam is (insert pretentious stuff about myself here). Share your thoughts with me @MA_Y_M

Afropop on the rise: Kanye West’s adventures in Uganda and D’banj’s G.O.O.D music years