Beyonce & Jay-Z To Headline Global Citizen Festival In South Africa In Honor Of Nelson Mandela’s Centennial

FileAP Images

Beyonce and Jay-Z are two of the big stars that will head to South Africa later this year to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. The superstar couple will headline the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 concert on December 2, one of several events that will honor the life’s work of the late anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, according to Billboard.

The free show will take place at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg just ahead of the fifth anniversary of the passing of the human rights leader. Nelson Mandela died in Dec. 13, 2013.

Beyonce and Jay-Z will be joined by Ed Sheeran, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder for the concert. Other artists from around the world include Wizkid, Cassper Nyovest, Femi Kuti, Sho Madjozi, and Tiwa Savage.

In addition to performances by the big name musical guests, Oprah Winfrey will deliver the keynote address. Other hosts will include Gayle King, Sir Bob Geldof, Naomi Campbell, Forest Whitaker, and Tyler Perry.

Keynote speaker Oprah Winfrey has been vocal about how Nelson Mandela’s life affected her. Winfrey told Forbes she decided to open her all-girls school in South Africa after a 10-day stay at Mandela’s house. Winfrey said she wanted to leave something of lasting “value” after her trip to Mandela’s country.

“When we were talking one day, we started a conversation about what was in the newspaper: poverty and how to change it. And I said, ‘The only way to change poverty is through education, and one day I would like to build a school in South Africa.’ And he said, ‘You want to build a school?’ He got up and called the minister of education. By that afternoon I was in a meeting, talking about building a school.”

The Global Citizen movement has a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Mandela 100 campaign, which has launched multiple events in honor of Mandela’s 100th birthday, hopes to raise $1 billion in new pledges to aid the poor all over the world, provide funding for women’s health, and ensure access to clean water and safe sanitation worldwide.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nelson Mandela’s final speech in 2008 provided the premise for the Dec. 2 event. In 2008, Mandela said, “We all have the opportunity to be great and play our part.” Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela, explained that he approached Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans and told him of his desire to bring the festival to South Africa to be a part of his grandfather’s centennial.

“Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest examples of resistance, patience, and forgiveness that our world will ever know. It is our great honor to campaign in his name and answer his call to be the generation to end extreme poverty,” Evans said in a statement about the high-profile event.

To earn free tickets to Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, hopeful concertgoers can sign up through Global Citizen, where requirements will be emailed later this summer.