Fash­ion­ably late ar­rival of the star celeb of the night

Sunday Times - - News The A-listers - with Craig Ja­cobs ja­[email protected]­day­times.co.za

● 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

Pic­tures: John Lieben­berg

Hugh Evans

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