Fashionably late arrival of the star celeb of the night
● Take the world’s most famous supermodel, a local mining billionaire and more Mandelas than cattle in Qunu.
Throw in an Aussie philanthropist, a couple of Sisulus, wall-to-wall business heavies and a dash of celebs.
Monday evening’s launch of the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 ticked all the boxes when it came to the ultimate A-list. This will be no ordinary fest. At its heart is a wish to quash extreme poverty in 12 years. Just how?
By shining the spotlight on activist groups across the world and holding governments in check while we highlight activists’ work by tweeting and signing online petitions in return for rewards like those concert tickets for the December 2 event at FNB Stadium, where Beyoncé and Jay-Z will perform.
It was held at that most trendy of venues, Circa in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Walking inside the gallery one of the first people I greet is Joburg Tourism’s bubbly Lumka Dlomo, standing next to one of the land’s top businesswomen, Wendy Luhabe.
“She’s my prayer warrior,” Lumka tells me, explaining that Wendy holds a prayer circle every Wednesday evening.
“We pray for the nation,” adds Wendy. Then it’s saying hello to a familiar face, Ndaba Mandela, and meeting his cousins Dorothy and Kweku who are the offspring of Makaziwe, Madiba’s eldest surviving child through his first marriage to Evelyn Mase.
Kweku attended a previous Global Citizen Festival and was so inspired that he suggested to co-founder, Australian Hugh Evans, that they bring the event to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s centenary.
With the support of cabinet minister Jeff Radebe, whose wife, Bridgette, is the sister of Patrice Motsepe, they roped in the Motsepe Foundation. Patrice and his flawless wife, Precious, (wearing a fetching blue, white and black gown by Congolese designer Kahindo Mateene) were undoubtedly the centre of attention, especially after Twitter anointed them national heroes for bringing the US superstar couple to the country.
As Patrice and Precious greeted the room, I caught up with Ntsiki and Duma Sisulu, who told me they were in the midst of plans for their own centenary celebrations for their gran, Albertina Sisulu, who would have reached the milestone in October this year.
That’s the Mandelas, the Sisulus, the billionaire and the philanthropist, but no sign of the supermodel when official proceedings begin.
Our MC is that perky new singleton Nomzamo Mbatha, who hands over the mic to Hugh, whom we spontaneously applaud when he announces that they have broken the record for the most downloads of the app that very day.
“To make a comparison, last year in Germany in three months we signed up 60 000 people and Johannesburg did it in only a few hours,” he tells guests, ranging from Lerato Kganyago to Bonang Matheba, Goldman Sachs South Africa’s Colin Coleman to Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza.
We’re treated to an energetic performance by Maya Wegerif, also known as Sho Madjozi, and who, come December, will be joining the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 line-up that includes Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage, R&B crooner Usher, rocker Eddie Vedder and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who will all perform for free.
Moments later and the room parts as Naomi Campbell, dressed in a tailored black suit with a crisp white shirt, arrives with entourage in tow, and makes a beeline to the VIP section upstairs.
The supermodel, who at 48 still looks incredible, does oblige when I request a pic but I was way too star-struck to remember what I chatted about to the woman touted as Mandela’s honorary grandchild.
And as for the grub?
Understandably, when the cause is poverty alleviation this wasn’t too lavish.
But we were well served with sparkling wine and assorted canapés.
We signed up 60 000 in Johannesburg in only a few hours
Kweku Mandela Amuah, Dorothy Adjoa Amuah and Ndaba Mandela Colin Coleman, Nerina Labuschagne and Jabu Mabuza Patrice and Precious Motsepe Ntsiki and Duma Sisulu
Left, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Sho Madjozi Naomi Campbell