The Carters headline the Global Citizen stage.
This year’s Global Citizen Festival celebrates a century since the birth of South African president and anti-apartheid pioneer Nelson Mandela and kicked off on Sunday in Mandela’s home country as the likes of Pharrell Williams, Usher, Ed Sheeran, and Wizkid performed in support of the organization’s cause to end extreme poverty.
Headlining the festival is Jay-Z and Beyoncé in one last extension of the couple’s On the Run II tour, which officially came to a close earlier this year.
Ahead of the performance, Beyoncé penned an open letter addressed to Nelson Mandela who passed away in 2013.
“I first met you in 2004 at the 46664 AIDS Benefit Concert in Cape Town, and the impact you have had on my life resonates with me today and every day,” Bey writes. “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.”
Beyoncé continues: “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.”