Culture

Dear Madiba by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

“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.”

– Beyoncé

Beyoncé pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, who passed away in 2013, ahead of the The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 that will reunite some of the best musicians of today in honor of the former South African president 100 years since his birth. The big event will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 2nd of December and it will be more than a tribute. It will be a charity campaign meant to raise at least 1 billion dollars to help the poorest people worldwide

Nelson Mandela had a very controversial life, spending 27 years in prison and being released in 1990. Four years later, he became the president of South Africa, but refused the second term in 1999 and focused on his charitable foundation where he fought against poverty and AIDS. He is widely recognized as a symbol of justice, democracy and human rights, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Photo by Wayne Conradie – Nelson Mandela and Beyonce Knowles at the Launch of the 46664 HIV/aids Awareness Concert, Cape Town South Africa, November 2003 The Number 46664 was Nelson Mandela’s Prison Number

“You made it possible for so many people like me to reject impossibilities…”

Meeting him in 2004, Beyoncé talks in her letter about the impact of this meeting on her life. Read the full letter below:

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

Mandela Beyonce
Nelson Mandela & Beyonce Knowles
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