The Global Citizen Festival Was A Weapon To Put Us To Sleep

By Pinky Khoabane

Dr Toni Luck is an inspirational and motivational speaker. She says she wept watching the Global Citizen Festival which took place at the weekend.

“Dear family –

“I am weeping so much today, The Global Citizen Concert was a weapon to put us to sleep – the issues discussed have all been given to Africa by the same people talking about fixing what they broke. The real major highlight of the day was Zindzi Mandela’s courageous recognition of  our hero,  Winnie….. Beloved family  we are in serious trouble, and there is only silence from those who we think should be our protectors…”

The Global Citizen site writes that: “Over 5.65M actions led to 58 commitments and announcements worth $7,096,996,725 (ZAR 99,503,546,297), set to affect the lives of 137,368,628 people”. 

The Global Citizen Festival brings together young people to watch a star-studded performance by some of the world’s stars in return for doing good. They are expected to do charity work in return for opportunity to get a free ticket to the festival. There are also very expensive seats that are reserved for VIPs.

Over the weekend, the South African version brought together a large contingency of heads of state, dignitaries, a group of the world’s most talented artists and influencers, and thousands of global citizens to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela. Jay-Z, Beyonce and Usher were among the international stars while a lot of South African artists also featured.

Philanthropy and controversy go hand-in-hand. Those who finance these programmes are rich people whose wealth and how they make it is a source of much scrutiny. They cut jobs, they exploit workers but have the audacity to spend billions on “the poor” in order to become “good corporate citizens”. And this as a way of increasing profits.

In South Africa, The Global Citizen Festival was brought by billionaire Patrice Motsepe and the origins of his wealth constantly come under scrutiny. How did he make his money and who’s behind it? Is it through sheer entrepreneurial spirit and guts or is it through Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) which cynics say is a vehicle used by white people to enrich themselves even further in the new democratic dispensation than they did during apartheid, while giving a few blacks aligned to the ruling ANC a small share of their wealth.

Motsepe not only bank-rolled the concert but he also pledged around R3.5bn towards land reform this weekend. Let’s not even get into the fact that South Africa has moved onto the policy of land expropriation without compensation and how Motsepe will get involved. Details are scant at the moment and perhaps these will emerge as the dust settles following incidents of large-scale crime and chaos after the event.

Motsepe has also bank-rolled the Barcelona match against his Mamelodi Sundowns team which took place shortly before the FIFA World Cup making it a damp squib of a match. It later emerged it was so fixed that players were told not to tackle the international players too hard to avoid injuries ahead of the world cup. The billionaire also brought us former President Barack Obama to speak at Nelson Mandela’s Centenary Lecture – a most controversial decision given that it is the Obama administration that killed Libya’s Muammar Gaddaffi who was one of Mandela’s closest comrades. This is what we wrote at the time https://uncensoredopinion.co.za/obama-the-wall-street-president-the-drone-president-the-president-who-destroyed-lybia/

Motsepe’s pledges and sponsored events bring into sharp focus the working conditions of the employees at his African Rainbow Minerals mines. Themba Godi of the African People’s Convention (APC) and Chairman of Parliaments Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), posted a tweet challenging the billionaire to start by paying his workers a living wage.

“True comrade. We must not be fooled. Motsepe can start by paying the workers living wages than flout money around”. 

The Economic Freedom Front’s Mandisa Mashego tweeted: “So Patrice & wife donate R4 billion & Ramaphosa R1 billion of money looted from our minerals, all while growing squatter camps in Gauteng are burgeoning. Marikana workers have still not received their houses nor decent salaries. Electricity, VAT, fuel are skyrocketing”. 

On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly employed by Lonmin platinum mines, were killed after police opened fire on striking miners. The strike, which had begun on August 9 over a wage dispute, was marred by intimidation and violence. Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards had been killed.

Marikana stands as a nightmare that revives the images of massacres by the state in the old apartheid with one brutal difference. We had the Sharpeville Massacre and the Soweto Uprising but this time it was predominantly black policemen, with black senior officers who were doing the shooting.

And it is perhaps the fact that it was a massacre of black people by black policemen under a black government that we as a nation are seemingly avoiding calling it exactly what it is – a massacre. And perhaps it is why justice to the miners has been so slow and those who were involved in the massacre – either directly or indirectly – have swiftly forgotten the victims and flash billions of rands at events with global stars and flashing camera lights.


Dear family – i am weeping so much today the global citizen concert was a weapon to put us to sleep – the issues discussed have all been given to africa by the same people talking about fixing what they broke. The real major highlight of the day was zindzi mandela’s courageous recognition of  our hero,  winnie.      To add to our sorrowful concern was yet another blow to the foundation of the african family when  last week the  passing of the law that says  we cannot spank our children under president  ramaposa,  adding to the gay marriage law  under president mbeki – and under president  mandela –  abortion for underage children without parental consent.  Beloved family  we are in serious trouble, and there is only silence from those who we think should be our protectors  – so our only protector is god.



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