4 December 2018

Africa: How Global Citizen - and Beyonce - Changed My Life

Photo: Nontobeko Mlambo/ allAfrica
Nontobeko Mlambo at the Mandela 100 Global Citizen concert at the FNB stadium.
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What started out as a quest to win tickets to see  Beyoncé led to my realisation that being part of the concert was bigger than just seeing  Beyoncé perform. I have always been a huge  Beyoncé fan and seeing her perform was my dream. When it finally happened it felt just like that, a dream that finally came true.

It wasn't until I won the tickets that I started asking myself what being a global citizen really means. I had been so caught up in a process of trying to accumulate points to qualify for a draw that I didn't even read the content of the tweets I was sending out and petitions I was signing.

So, the day of the concert finally came and as soon I got inside the bus with people singing Beyoncé 's songs I knew my day was to be magical, I quickly joined in the singing and immediately felt like I was already at the concert.

The wait for the bus to get full had me a bit frustrated and as a result, I missed a few opening speeches and Wizkid performance.

As soon as we approached the stadium I could hear loud cheers as Trevor Noah called Usher and Black Coffee to the stage.

Getting inside the stadium proved easier than I thought and with the help of the security guards and ushers finding our allocated seats was easy.

I was on time for Sho Majozi's performance who left us screaming for more after performing her hit song Huku. Nigerian Afrobeat star Femi Kuti also did not disappoint and my favourite part of his performance was watching him dance to his 1998 hit Beng Beng Beng.

It was so hot at the stadium and Nigeria's D'banj did not make it any better by taking his shirt off as soon as he got on stage leaving most of us screaming "emergency". He took us to memory lane with his 2008 song Fall in Love and his hit single Oliver Twist and Emergency.

Speaking of the weather it was so hot and it took me over 40 minutes to get to the front of the queue for the overpriced drinks and hot dogs while missing Tiwa Savage and Eddie Vedder performed in the process.

Coldplay lead vocalist Chris Martin who was announced by Global Citizen as the festival's curator for the next 15 years had a couple of collaborations with most artists including South African rapper Cassper Nyovest who also set the stadium alight.

By the time my all-time favourite TV personality, Oprah Winfrey, appeared looking angelic in her yellow hand beaded Gert Johan Coetzee kaftan we could hardly wait for Beyoncé. At the end of her speech when she was about to introduce the next act we thought she was going to introduce Beyoncé but to everyone's disappointment she introduced President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Luckily the president's speech was no longer than 10 minutes. Then before we knew it, there was Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z walking onto the stage hand in hand.

"I can feel so much light and beauty in here," Beyoncé said to the audience.

The Carters managed to deliver several surprises during their almost 90 minutes set. My biggest highlight was when the Soweto Gospel Choir and Mzansi Youth Choir brought a bit of African flavour to the star's song Halo.

Pharell Williams joined in on the stage during Jayz's performance of Nice while Ed Sheeran joined Beyoncé for a first-ever live performance of Perfect from off Sheeran's Divide album.

The couple thrilled us in stunning outfits and every time they went to change costumes their videos kept us entertained on the big screen including a video of Nelson Mandela, Jay-Z's trip to Angola in 2006, the Carter's visual album accompanied by songs like Malaika as performed by Miriam Makeba.

The Global Citizen Festival was honoring the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth and was to pay tribute to the late global icon.

I am proud to have been part of the 5.65 million action takers that led to 58 commitments by international organisations that contributed over U.S. $7 billion for many social issues affecting mostly the poor across the globe.

Knowing that my actions and money raised will help over 137 million people makes me feel proud and I can now say I understand what a global citizen is ... that I am aware that global issues affect us all and we are all connected to this global community.

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