Jon Furniss/WireImageAs Beyoncé prepares to perform at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 concert on Sunday in Johannesburg, South Africa, she’s written a letter of thanks to the iconic leader who inspired the celebration, the late Nelson Mandela.
The concert is celebrating what would have been Mandela’s 100th birthday this year.
Queen Bey first met Mandela in 2004 at an AIDS benefit concert in Cape Town, South Africa. She walked with him to the Robben Island prison where he was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years in prison.
In the letter published in the South African newspaper Sowetan, Beyoncé writes, “I will cherish every moment shared in your presence and use the lessons learned from you as fuel to stir positive ideas and solutions.”
“You smiled as you talked to a crowd of artists and their guests, including my mother, who first told my sister and me about the great Nelson Mandela,” she continues. “In that moment I truly understood your heart and humility.”
Following the end of apartheid, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. His numerous awards include the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
“You were a strategic warrior, a bold activist and charismatic and well-loved leader,” Beyoncé writes. “Your vision for dignity, for human rights, for peace and a South Africa free of racism and apartheid, allows us all to turn dreams into reality.”
In addition to Beyoncé, the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 will also feature JAY-Z, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Usher, Naomi Campbell, Gayle King, Tyler Perry, and Forest Whitaker.
The event will air Sunday on MSNBC from 9:00 p.m. to midnight ET.
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