American RnB musician Usher Raymond IV surprised thousands of his fans on Sunday when he performed a popular South African dance, gwaragwara, at the Global Citizen Festival at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
In a one-song set with South African-born and internationally renowned DJ Black Coffee, Usher performed an African drum-inspired remixed version of Black Coffee’s “We Dance Again” and wowed his fans with many South African dance moves, including the gwaragwara.
A dance veteran in his own right, Usher made the knee-and shoulder-twisting dance look natural with his local dance crew, who complimented his performance on stage, and left fans begging for more.
Black Coffee, who is back in South Africa for the summer from his Ibiza residency, confirmed on Friday on his social media accounts that he would be collaborating with Usher at the festival, and posted a photo of them together at his house in Johannesburg.
Thousands of music fans from across the country packed the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday for the “Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100”, featuring local and international musicians, including Beyonce and Jay-Z, to celebrate the legacy and the centenary of South Africa’s first democratic president Nelson Mandela.
Among the attendees spotted at the stadium were veteran supermodel Naomi Campbell, American radio presenter and TV personality Lenard Larry McKelvey, aka Charlamagne tha God, and American TV personality Reverend Al Sharpton, while South African-born comedian Trevor Noah was the host.
The show kicked off with performances by Nigerian musicians Wizkid and Femi Kuti, South African entertainer Sho Madjozi, and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Major roads around the FNB Stadium in Nasrec in Johannesburg were closed to traffic as security was heightened for the world-class event. It took at least four security checkpoints for music revellers to enter the stadium, with no water bottles or weapons allowed.
The live audience was expected to be around 200,000 people, and millions more watched through global broadcasts and live streaming.
The “Beyhive”, as Beyonce fans affectionately call themselves, turned out in numbers for the performance of their lifetime as they have been for years calling for the superstar to come to South Africa.
Over the past six months, anticipation has been building up to the Global Citizen Festival as the international human rights advocacy organisation asked South Africans to participate in various actions in a bid to end poverty in their immediate surrounding communities.
The organisation said global citizens had taken close to five million actions, with over four million in South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland alone, calling on leaders to commit to tackling systemic issues affecting the world’s most vulnerable, such as ending malnutrition, reducing HIV transmission, and improving sanitation across the continent, among others.
Global Citizen worked in partnership with a number of organisations to bring the festival to South Africa, including the Motsepe Foundation, House of Mandela, and a number of partners, and 25 local NGOs and organisations.
Tweets that sum up the #GlobalCitizenFestivalSA experience: