Finally, Beyoncé and Jay-Z will perform again in Africa for Mandela 100

After more than a decade, superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z will finally perform in Africa again. The music duo are scheduled to headline a tribute concert to Nelson Mandela in December. The two have largely left the continent’s cities off their tour schedule, including their current On The Run II tour, but the Mandela 100 event, which will be internationally broadcast on 2 December, will see the artists rekindle the work they’ve done for the On The Run tours and previous festival shows. 

The concert which will be hosted in South Africa at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, will celebrate 100 years since the late anti-apartheid icon’s birth while also commemorating his death, and draw a number of leaders in an attempt to throw a spotlight on fledging efforts to eradicate the world’s worst poverty, Global Citizen announced on 9 July.

Tickets to this event are available for free but, according to the organisers, you’ll have to do something to earn it first. While Nelson Mandela’s legacy remains a strong inspiration, the non-profit’s presence in South Africa was also motivated by a need to “galvanize young, passionate people across Africa to pressure their leaders to make important strides on the Global Goals,” the organisation said on its website.

Activists and music fans can begin to earn their free tickets by taking action through deeds to alleviate poverty in Johannesburg’s local communities and Global Citizen’s platforms from 21 August. The organisers have not yet explained exactly what deeds will qualify, and how they will track them, but they say this information will be forthcoming as the concert aims to be the “biggest campaign on the Global Goals to end extreme poverty ever”. 

Hugh Evans, the founder and CEO of the movement, said he expected the Johannesburg festival to be the biggest Global Citizen festival ever in terms of reach, symbolism and lineup. This even as the campaign will also demand world leaders make major investments to end extreme poverty and take a stand for women and girls.

“On every way that we measure outcomes—the number of citizens engaged, the number of policy outcomes that are achieved, the number of lives that are affected as a result of those policy outcomes—we believe it has the potential to be the most significant campaign we’ve ever been part of,” Evans told AFP. However, a limited number of tickets will also be available for purchase from 11 July.

The Carters, who last performed in South Africa in 2004 (Beyoncé) and 2006 (Jay-Z), will be joined by Coldplay lead Chris Martin, Femi Kuti, the son of the Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, and Ed Sheeran to celebrate the centenary of the anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader’s birth. Nigerian chart toppers D’Banj, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage will also be on stage, along with the South African stars Casper Nyovest and Sho Madjozi. 

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey will also deliver a keynote address honoring South Africa’s first democratically elected president while hosting the event alongside Local TV personality Bonang Matheba, Naomi Campbell, Gayle King, Bob Geldof, Tyler Perry and Forest Whitaker.

South Africa will definitely be celebrating for the rest of the year as Former American President Obama will also be present for the 16th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture on 17 July at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, just one day ahead of what would have been Mandela’s 100th birthday.

The concert is a part of the Global Citizen Festival, an initiative by an NGO with the same name that aims to eradicate poverty by 2030. Global Citizen is working with House of Mandela, and was spearheaded by Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela, and the foundation of one of South Africa’s richest families, the Motsepes. 

Global Citizen has held annual concerts in New York’s Central Park aimed at getting young people involved in causes since 2012. The Mandela 100 concert is the first global citizen festival to be held in Africa.