Johannesburg - Thousands of music fans from across the country started streaming into the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday morning for the "Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100", featuring local and international musicians, including Beyonce and Jay-Z, to celebrate the legacy and the centenary of South Africa's first democratic president Nelson Mandela.
Major roads around the FNB Stadium in Nasrec in Johannesburg have been closed to traffic as dignitaries and VIPs make their way to the event expected to be attended by at least 10 heads of states, including Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, and Ghana's Nana Akufo-Addo, making it the largest contingency of heads of state to attend a Global Citizen Festival since it launched in 2011.
The live audience is expected to be around 200 000 people, and millions more will watch through global broadcasts and live streaming. South African-born DJ Black Coffee is expected to take to the stage around 2pm with American RnB sensation Usher, while Beyonce and Jay-Z are expected to perform around 7pm. The "Beyhive", as Beyonce fans affectionately call themselves, are expected to turn out in numbers for the performance of a lifetime as they have been for years calling for the superstar to come to South Africa.
Over the past six months, anticipation has been building up to the Global Citizen Festival as the international human rights advocacy organisation asked South Africans to participate in various actions in a bid to end poverty in their immediate surrounding communities.
The organisation said global citizens had taken close to five million actions, with over four million in South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland alone, calling on leaders to commit to tackling systemic issues affecting the world’s most vulnerable, such as ending malnutrition, reducing HIV transmission, and improving sanitation across the continent, among others.