On Saturday we braved the masses of face-painted, flag waving, brandy and coke drinking South Africans living in London and congregated at Hyde Park for Nelson’s 90th Birthday Bash.
The party was not only packed with appropriately 46 664 screaming Mandela fans, but a star-studded cast of performers and supporters. Live music was provided by the Soweto Gospel Choir, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Razorlight, Queen & Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Sugababes, Johnny Clegg, Sipho Mabuse, Josh Groban, Jamelia, Eddy Grant, Loyiso, Andrea & Sharon Corr, Simple Minds, to name but a few!
Below are a few of my highlights of the evening, together with some of the clips of the official TV broadcast – which I hope will stay up on Youtube.
Highlights of Madiba’s Birthday Bash
The awesome Will Smith and his wife Jada were the official MCs for the night. One of the night’s highlights for me was Will busting into a suprise performance of Switch and another old classic which completely captivated the massive crowd.
I was hugely impressed with Leona Lewis’s live performance, she sings with so much grace, and looked completely humbled performing in front of Madiba. Here’s her award winning, pitch perfect performance of “Bleeding Love”.
Amy Winehouse, on the other hand, just wasn’t that convincing, there was the occassional shot of her broadcasted on the big screens were she looked completely bored. Perhaps it was because she was sober (have to credit her for that).
Josh Groban, the Soweto Gospel Choir and Vusi Mahlasela performed the beautiful Weeping song, a famous Apartheid protest song written by Dan Heymann.
Of course nothing could top Nelson Mandela walking onto the stage to a deafening cheer by every single one of the 46 664 fans. His message was a powerful awakening that he isn’t going to be around forever, “It’s now in our hands”.
The birthday bash ended with an amazing tribute to Madiba, performed by all of the night’s performing stars – “Free Nelson Mandela”.