WHY JOLIE SNEAKED INTO SA
Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie jetted quietly into Jozi on Thursday because of concerns around “crowd control”.
A source with knowledge of the arrangements around the visit of the 40year-old actress and film director, who arrived at OR Tambo International Airport with her second-eldest son, Pax (11), told City Press that Jolie’s visit went unannounced “because of security concerns around crowd control”.
“She also doesn’t want it to be about her, but about the cause she is advancing,” the source said, adding that Jolie would not be holding any press conferences or giving any interviews.
African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma invited Jolie to the AU Summit in Sandton, where she exhorted African leaders to live up to their commitments of rooting out sex crimes against women in conflict zones.
News about Jolie’s arrival had journalists suddenly scurrying to attend a high-level panel discussion on gender violence hosted by Dlamini-Zuma in the spacious ground- floor exhibition hall at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Delegates attending other meetings in the centre were apparently unfazed by the arrival of Jolie, who is also a special envoy for the UN High Commission for Refugees. But a small group of photographers and cameramen scurried around in an effort to get the best shot of her.
Jolie was dressed in a long, monochrome tweed dress with large arrow pleats at the waist and draped sleeves, designed by US couturier Michael Kors.
She wore minimal make-up and her hair was tied back in a plain ponytail. Her slim, perfectly groomed and perfectly postured figure stood out among the other panellists.
Before the lunch, which started about half an hour late, Dlamini-Zuma boogied up and down to the holding room in the back of the hall, waiting for Jolie, who appeared slightly stiff in contrast.
This was no red carpet performance – although Jolie interacted amiably with her fellow panellists, she tried not to attract too much attention to herself. She also did not attend the gala dinner with heads of state on Friday night.
In her prepared speech, she praised Dlamini-Zuma for putting women’s rights at the heart of the AU Summit and urged leaders to implement their policies on sexual crimes.
But during the audience discussion, Botswana’s Foreign Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, urged her to script the issue of marital rape into her next film. Jolie, speaking briefly off the cuff, was less committal.
“When it comes to young men and violence, what they say in entertainment, you know my field, we do have a responsibility,” she said. “There are more stories to be told about this subject.”
Jolie said more discussions with leaders, like the one on Friday, were needed in the fight against sexual violence.
“So if I may, I would appeal to you – I am pleading with you – as leaders to live up to your commitments and go beyond them,” she told the 300 or so African foreign ministers and other Cabinet members and businesspeople.
On Thursday, Jolie met with British High Commissioner Judith Macgregor, and other diplomats and activists, on peace and security in Africa.
Angelina Jolie speaks at the AU Summit at the Sandton Convention
Centre on Friday