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Dear Madiba… – Beyonce Writes Emotional Letter To Nelson Mandela Ahead Of South African Concert

Thursday, 29 November 2018

 

Beyoncé and Nelson Mandela met in 2004. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has penned an emotional letter to the late Nelson Mandela ahead of her performance at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa, this Sunday.

In celebration of what would be the great South African leader, freedom fighter, and humanitarian’s 100th year, Beyoncé will be joining other artists and public figures for a concert that will culminate a series of actions in Mandela’s memory, to mobilize $1 billion in aid to the world’s poorest, with 50 percent committed to women and girls.

Fans might not know the impact that Mandela’s legacy has had on Knowles-Carter after she first met him in 2004.

In her letter (one of several addressed to Mandela to mark the occasion by admirers), Beyoncé addresses Mandela by his affectionate nickname, Madiba, and describes their visit to Robben Island, where he was held as a political prisoner for 18 years.

“I recall your measured but focused steps in as you recounted the stories of the struggles, the sacrifices and your resilience,” she writes.

The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 will feature Jay-Z, Oprah and Ed Sheeran, and others who will honor South Africa’s first black president and his legacy a century after he was born.

Read Beyonce’s full text of the letter below:

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Dear Madiba,

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.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

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