Hang­ing out with global fever folk

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

● Be­y­oncé fever hit SA last week as that mu­sic fest which ropes in in­ter­na­tional stars to draw a crowd for a preach ses­sion to fight world poverty came to town. And with Pa­trice and Pre­cious Mot­sepe’s Foun­da­tion the main spon­sors of the event held at Soweto’s FNB Sta­dium, I de­cided to start my week­end by at­tend­ing the bil­lion­aire cou­ple’s of­fi­cial wel­come din­ner for the Man­dela 100 Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val last Satur­day evening at the swish Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

We were promised that this would be the ul­ti­mate celeb-spot­ting shindig, with a “guest list in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal celebri­ties, busi­ness in­flu­encers, phi­lan­thropists and more”, ac­cord­ing to one of the pub­li­cists, Nh­lanhla Shezi.

“Be­y­oncé is the guest of hon­our,” whis­pered one guest, while an­other said they’d heard Naomi Camp­bell would be mod­el­ling.

“Phar­rell Wil­liams is go­ing to be per­form­ing,” said an­other, brim­ming with ex­cite­ment.

Sadly, though, de­spite the fact that the Mot­sepes’ deep pock­ets paid for most of those in­ter­na­tional acts to make the trek down south, we were left with a room­ful of lo­cal celebs and a smat­ter­ing of over­seas names with a lot less star power. Folk like Zim­bab­wean ac­tress Danai Gurira, whose star is on the rise thanks to her role in Black Pan­ther but who isn’t ex­actly a house­hold name, and con­tro­ver­sial Amer­i­can preacher Rev Al Sharp­ton.

One of the first peo­ple I meet as I make my way through the Fort Knox-style se­cu­rity scan­ners into the cock­tail area is in­te­rior de­sign supremo Stephen Fal­cke, who is lean­ing against a couch with a pair of crutches be­side him.

Stephen, who is the Mot­sepes’ dé­cor go-to guy (he over­saw the en­chant­ing dec­o­ra­tions for the night and ear­lier this year went mar­ble shop­ping in Italy for the cou­ple), tells me his one leg was am­pu­tated in July af­ter he fell ill.

“I said to Keith [his part­ner] we have to turn a neg­a­tive into a pos­i­tive,” he says, ad­ding that the loss of a limb hasn’t stopped his trav­els — he is due to launch his book in Lon­don, Syd­ney and the US.

Turn­ing to my left, I can’t help but smile wryly as I watch celebs and quite a few un­knowns line up du­ti­fully to get their pics snapped on the red car­pet on one end of the venue.

Some­one not fussed with all the pomp is Sir Bob Geldof, who I spot try­ing to slip out of the queue and who I con­vince to oblige our A-Lis­ter lens­man John Lieben­berg for just one pic.

“Your thoughts on the con­cert,” I ask the rocker who kick-started the whole con­cert­meets-char­ity trend back in the 1980s with his Live Aid events.

“These things hap­pen all the time these days, but this is a f**k-off bill,” he says.

Then it’s greet­ing singer Danny K and his wife, Lisa, and her folks, Billy and Michelle Gun­delfin­ger; Nicky van der Walt and his model wife, Lee-Ann Lieben­berg; and TV and ra­dio pre­sen­ter Aza­nia Mosaka, whose feath­ered dress must have put a ma­jor dent in the Oudt­shoorn os­trich pop­u­la­tion.

The event gets un­der way af­ter the lady of the hour — not Be­y­oncé but Pre­cious Mot­sepe — ar­rives, al­though I hardly see a thing as my view of the stage is ob­scured by a mas­sive pil­lar. Mind you, I don’t think I missed much as we sat through an overly long fash­ion show in­ter­spersed with mu­si­cal acts sans those in­ter­na­tional big hit­ters.

You’ll want to know about the con­cert the next day, but I won’t bore you with my take on the on-stage ac­tiv­i­ties.

I will ad­mit that the Mr and Mrs Carter show blew me away (Be­y­oncé draped in lo­cal de­sign Qui­te­ria & Ge­orge for the fi­nale was a nice sur­prise), Ed Sheeran got me on my feet and Cassper Ny­ovest stole the show.

I was hor­ri­fied by the drama that en­sued, es­pe­cially around that Sa­sol petrol sta­tion.

Yes, the po­lice could have tried harder to keep us safe, but judg­ing by the tight se­cu­rity around all those heads of states and in­ter­na­tional acts, I can’t help but feel that those whose duty it was to take care of or­di­nary folk spent more ef­fort shield­ing VIPs.

Pic­tures: John Lieben­berg

Aza­nia Mosaka Stephen Fal­ckeBob Geldof, left; Pre­cious Mot­sepe, be­low.

Lee-Ann Lieben­berg and Nicky van der Walt

Danny K, Lisa Kop­pel, Michelle and Billy Gun­delfin­ger

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