People attending the Global Citizens festival in South Africa reported assaults and robberies from gangs of young boys.
By Shaquile Goff
After the Global Citizens festival in Johannesburg ended Monday morning, several people reported that robberies that occurred as they left the venue. The festival is an initiative seeking to “end extreme poverty by the year 2030,” according to its website.
This year’s celebration was in honor of the 100th birthday of civil activist Nelson Mandela. Notable celebrities including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Dave Chappelle, and South African comedian Trevor Noah attended the event over the weekend.
The organization’s original donation goal of $ 1 billion was surpassed seven times over, with donations coming from World Bank, Vodacom, PEPFAR, Cisco, and the government of South Africa, in addition to the celebrities that attended.
The organization predicts this commitment will help 137,368,628 people worldwide. Unfortunately, feelings of goodwill were lost soon after attendees left the venue.
Social media posts indicated that after leaving FNB stadium in Johannesburg, a crowd of young men rushed the group and snatched phones, purses, and bags.
The director of Miss Universe SA tweeted “The screaming of girls and people everywhere still rings in my head…They knifed people, burning people. It was horrifying.” Lack of police presence was criticized as well, with a music publicist saying “We found two cops only when we were getting towards the highway.”
A statement from Global Citizens Monday said “After such an inspiring evening, we are saddened to hear the challenges people had while leaving the venue. We have been working to support people getting home safely.”
South African police said it only received one report of a single robbery and wasn’t aware of any others. However, the victims’ stories paint a different picture, and one woman said “If you were there you’d understand when I say I #survived. We survived.”