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Trevor Noah is ready to take his hosting duties from late-night to the big stage as he is confirmed to host the Global Citizen Festival honoring Nelson Mandela’s centennial, on Sunday, Dec. 2 in Johannesburg.
Noah joins a lineup of co-hosts/members of the host committee including Naomi Campbell, Sir Bob Geldof, Gayle King, Bonang Matheba, Tyler Perry and Forest Whitaker. K Naomi, Lucas Radebe, Nandi Madida, Pearl Thusi, Somizi and Zakes Bantwini will also join as Global Citizen: Mandela 100 Advocates to support the campaign against extreme poverty.
The celebratory event is the culmination of Global Citizen’s Mandela 100 campaign, in partnership with the House of Mandela, a series of global events commemorating the life and legacy of Mandela in his centenary year. For the late-night host — who was born in South Africa — the festival marks his first time emceeing an event of this caliber in his native country.
“It is an honor to be a part of the Global Citizen Festival event celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela,” Noah said in a statement. “I am where I am today living as a free South African because of much of what he did, and so I’m beyond excited to be teaming up with so many others to pay tribute to the man in his home country.”
Global Citizen CEO and founder Hugh Evans considers Noah to be one of the most “powerful broadcasters” on television, making him the perfect choice as the special event’s host.
“Trevor is one of the most powerful broadcasters of our century— his life, comedy and activism are a symbol of Mandela’s enduring vision and pursuit of equality for all,” Evans said. “We are extremely grateful for his continued support of the Global Citizen movement. We could not be more excited to have him come home with us to Johannesburg for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.”
Among the event’s headliners are Beyonce and Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Pharrell Williams, Usher and Chris Martin. Oprah Winfrey will also be in attendance to deliver a special keynote address remembering Mandela and his legacy at the free-ticketed event.
In conjunction with the festival, Noah’s The Daily Show — which is seen in over 110 countries — will produce a special episode dedicated to featuring highlights from the event. The episode will premiere on Comedy Central at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
The festival will mark the first time Global Citizen will take place in Johannesburg, with the festival already having campaigned in places such as Vancouver, London and Brussels. Bringing the event to Mandela’s home country is something Mandela’s grandson, Kweku — who also serves as executive producer of the December celebration — sees as the “beginning” of Global Citizen bringing positive change to South Africa.
“South Africa has made unbelievable strides since the end of apartheid in 1994, yet it is still beset by economic trouble: more than half of the country’s youth population is unemployed, and more than a quarter of South Africans still live in extreme poverty,” Kweku said. “With the Global Citizen Fellowship Program, we are committed to building economic and leadership opportunities for generations of South Africans to come. December 2nd isn’t the end of Global Citizen’s journey in South Africa, it is the beginning.”
Since the festival’s inception in New York in 2012, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible platforms for young people calling on world leaders to to fulfill their obligations around sustainable development and end extreme poverty by 2030.
Traditionally, Global Citizen events do not require tickets to attend but rather encourage attendees and the public to “take action” in tackling important issues instead. To abide by this tradition, the organization is set to kick off its Action Journey 1, which marks the first opportunity for fans and activists to earn their tickets to the event.
Those seeking to attend can partake in various actions, such as asking Nigeria’s state governors to invest in water and sanitation, urging Zambia to help children live free from hunger and malnutrition, calling on the finance ministers of Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya to lift millions from poverty by raising the agriculture budget and asking Rwanda to help end neglected tropical diseases and improve nutrition across Africa.
The event marks a big year for the organization, as Global Citizen will also hold its annual festival on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York on Saturday, Sept. 29. Headliners for the fall event include Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B and Janelle Monae.
John Legend will also be a special guest performer. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness are confirmed to emcee the event, with Camren Bicondova, Cynthia Erivo, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Gus Kenworthy, Kal Penn, La La Anthony, Naomi Campbell and Rachel Brosnahan serving as co-hosts.
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