Beyonce is gearing up for a South African concert on Sunday by celebrating the lasting legacy of Nelson Mandela.
The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 will take place in Johannesburg and feature Jay-Z, Oprah and Ed Sheeran to honor South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, and his legacy a century after he was born.
“It is an honor for me to travel to South Africa this week in celebration of you and your efforts to right so many wrongs,” Beyonce wrote on her website in an open letter to Mandela, who died in 2013 at age 95.
“You were a strategic warrior, a bold activist, and charismatic and well-loved leader,” she continued. “Your vision for dignity, for human rights, for peace and a South Africa free of racism and apartheid, allows us all to turn dreams into reality.”
The singer remembered meeting Mandela in 2004 at the AIDS Benefit Concert in Cape Town and the impact he had on her.
“I recall your measured but focused steps in as you recounted the stories of the struggles, the sacrifices and your resilience,” she wrote. “You smiled as you talked to a crowd of artists and their guests, including my mother, who first told my sister and me about the great Nelson Mandela. In that moment I truly understood your heart and humility.”
The festival is hosted by South Africa’s Motsepe Foundation, which seeks to reduce poverty through education and job creation.
“I promise you that we have made your dreams our own,” Beyonce concluded. “Your work and your sacrifices were not in vain. I will cherish every moment shared in your presence and use the lessons learned from you as fuel to stir positive ideas and solutions.”
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