Beyoncé Honors Nelson Mandela Ahead of Centennial Event: 'We Have Made Your Dreams Our Own'
"Your ability to forgive are lessons I have learned and will pass on to my three children," Beyoncé wrote
This weekend, the singer, her husband JAY-Z and a slew of music stars will descend upon Johannesburg, South Africa, for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 event, honoring the life and legacy of the late African president.
Ahead of the event, the South African publication Sowetan published an open letter from Beyoncé, 37, to Mandela — who died in 2013 — on Wednesday. In the note, the Grammy-winning vocalist reflected on the time she spent with and lessons she learned from the anti-apartheid activist.
See the full letter below:
Nelson Mandela and Beyoncé
I first met you in 2004 for the 46664 AIDS Benefit Concert in Cape Town, and the impact you have had on my life resonates with me today and every day. Your kindness and gratitude for every experience, and your ability to forgive are lessons I have learned and will pass on to my three children. My entire family holds you in high regard.
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. You were a strategic warrior, a bold activist, and charismatic and well-loved leader. 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.
I remember taking that walk with you back to the prison on Robben Island where you spent 18 of those imprisoned 27 years. I recall your measured but focused steps in as you recounted the stories of the struggles, the sacrifices and your resilience. 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.
You made it possible for so many people like me to reject impossibilities and understand our capabilities in making lasting change in the world. The smallest efforts could change the trajectory for so many living in extreme poverty, facing injustices, the indecency of racism and fighting for their rights as humans.
As we celebrate the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, honoring your centennial year, I promise you that we have made your dreams our own.
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.
The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 will air on MSNBC on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Trevor Noah will host the live event, while a bevy of A-listers will perform, including Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, Kacey Musgraves and Usher.
The festival caps off Global Citizen’s 2018 “Mandela 100” campaign, which seeks to raise $1 billion to aid in issues associated with extreme poverty, gender equality, food security, education, the environment, and global health.