The R&B singing sen­sa­tion wows lo­cal fans on and off the stage while tour­ing the coun­try in high style, cre­at­ing mo­ments of nos­tal­gia

CityPress - - Front Page - BIÉNNE HUISMAN bi­enne.huisman@city­

Diva su­per­star Mariah Carey and her en­tourage are be­ing shut­tled around South Africa in four large Mercedes sedans with tinted win­dows and a po­lice es­cort. The singer even fit­ted in a lion-sight­ing dur­ing a sa­fari jaunt near Cape Town on Fri­day, ahead of her con­cert in Jo­han­nes­burg tonight, with four-yearold twins Moroc­can and Mon­roe in tow.

The 47-year-old singer is in the coun­try for the lo­cal leg of her Sweet Sweet Fan­tasy tour, which in­cludes con­certs in 26 cities and fea­tures hits such as Hero and Al­ways Be My Baby.

On Mon­day she ar­rived in Cape Town, where lo­cal fans stood wait­ing in the rain to wel­come her at the city’s five-star One&Only Ho­tel ahead of her per­for­mance at the Cape Town Sta­dium on Tuesday.

On Wed­nes­day, she took to In­sta­gram to wish South Africans a blessed Free­dom Day and posted a photograph of her­self with late pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela.

Carey, known to her die-hard fans as Mimi, stayed in the One&Only’s pres­i­den­tial suite, which has ter­races over­look­ing the V&A Wa­ter­front’s ma­rina and Ta­ble Moun­tain. The suite also has its own but­ler’s kitchen, pri­vate gym and mas­sage bed.

Dur­ing the week, she slipped into a skintight black dress and tow­er­ing stilet­tos to dine at the ho­tel’s posh Ja­panese restau­rant Nobu, where a serv­ing of lan­gous­tine sashimi costs R320. Two body­guards kept vigil as she had sup­per with her twins, make-up artist Kristofer Buckle and tour man­ager Stella Bu­lochnikov.

On Mon­day, cruise ship em­ployee Dean Gar­net Hann (24) from Cape Town waited seven hours to spot his pop mu­sic hero.

“Ini­tially, I was in­side the ho­tel’s foyer, but a se­cu­rity guard asked me to leave. So I waited in the ho­tel’s drive­way with four other fans for three hours. It was driz­zling ... Then four big Mercedes sedans with tinted win­dows ar­rived, es­corted by one po­lice van. I knew it was her,” he said.

He went back in­side to the ho­tel’s Vista Bar, where he racked up a R500 tab or­der­ing hot cho­co­late and sparkling wine while he waited.

“Then I saw one of her dancers, Bryan Tanaka, strid­ing across the foyer. I went up to him and said, ‘Hi, Bryan.’ He was cool, and is su­per­hot in real life ... so sexy. He in­jured him­self in Italy some time back, break­ing a fe­mur, so I asked him how he was feel­ing. He posed for pic­tures with us,” said Hann.

Buckle, make-up artist to Tin­sel­town’s A-list, was the next fa­mous face to saunter through the bar area, fol­lowed 10 min­utes later by the diva her­self.

“I shouted to her, ‘Mariah, could we please have a pic­ture with you, for the nos­tal­gia’ (a word Carey of­ten uses to de­note good mem­o­ries to fans). By us­ing that word, she knew I was a true fan.

“She left her en­tire en­tourage and body­guards to head over to us. We asked for a pic­ture and she said, ‘Sure, my dar­lings.’”

For a few mag­i­cal mo­ments, his arm was wrapped around his all-time idol’s waist, and he could smell her per­fume. “Oh man, it was in­cred­i­ble,” said Hann.

“I have seen her be­fore at a show in Las Ve­gas, but have never been this close. My arm was, like, com­pletely around her.”

Other guests rushed closer and Carey pa­tiently posed for self­ies be­fore head­ing to Nobu for din­ner.

Out­side the ho­tel, Hann was in­ter­viewed for Mariah’s World, a doc­u­men­tary se­ries on Carey, sched­uled to air on the E! En­ter­tain­ment chan­nel.

It is not sur­pris­ing that the diva de­cided to stay at the One&Only, as she also at­tended the ho­tel’s starstud­ded VIP open­ing bash, hosted by owner Sol Kerzner, in 2009. Other guests on the night in­cluded Man­dela and Hol­ly­wood roy­als Sharon Stone, Mor­gan Free­man, Thandie New­ton, Clint East­wood and Robert De Niro.

Carey also vis­ited South Africa in 2007 for the A-list open­ing of talk show host Oprah Win­frey’s lead­er­ship academy, which was also at­tended by Man­dela.


ALL THAT GLIT­TERS Mariah Carey per­form­ing at the Cape Town Sta­dium

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