On Saturday night I went to an amazing concert at Radio City Hall in NYC to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday and life as well as the launch of the Mandela Day initiative. Some of the world’s top musical talent performed in a three-hour spectacle and wow! what a celebration!! Some of the artists who performed included Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Will.i.am, Wyclef Jean, Gloria Gaynor, Dave Stewart, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban and some of my favorite African artists, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Angelique Kidjo, Baaba Maal, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Vusi Mahlasela and Thandiswa Mazwai.
It was one of the best and moving concerts I have seen for awhile. Wyclef was amazing, as was Baaba Maal, playing one of my favorite songs of his, African Woman. Angelique Kidjo as always was a dynamo and performed another one of my favorites, Ae Ae, with Alicia Keyes. And Jesse Clegg, the son of Johnny Clegg, one of my favorite artists growing up in South Africa, played one of his father’s classics, Asimbonanga, a tribute to Nelson Mandela and other murdered and detained prisoners during the apartheid era in South Africa.
The Mandela Day campaign encourages people to continue Nelson Mandela’s legacy by making an imprint and getting involved in their own communities – ultimately creating a better world for all. In short, Mandela Day celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an imprint. In an effort to celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela (or Madiba as he is affectionately known in South Africa), 46664 and the Nelson Mandela Foundation are urging people all over the world to join them in a bid to create an official Mandela Day, which would be held on his birthday each year, July 18. Mandela Day will be an annual celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and values. It is not a day to take off but rather to opt in, to join an international call to action for people to recognize their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them. We would be honored if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation, according to a statement issued on Mr Mandela’s behalf.
For more information, make sure you check out:
- Live stream + video of the song “Two Hands” that Jack Johnson and Ben Harper wrote and donated to Mandela Day
- Review of the concert
- Morgan Freeman plays Mandela in Invictus