Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mandela Day Gala Dinner

I've always thought Morgan Freeman was one of those iconic figures you could never really get close enough to speak to. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he hardly gives interviews and also that when he was filming in SA, there was no getting a microphone near him. But last night at the Mandela Day Gala Dinner and Auction at Grand Central Station, I got to shake his hand and have him give me a little hug. I couldn't believe how approachable he was - and such a warm character.

Bill Clinton, together with Graca Machel, hosted the event. I was really lucky enough to be inside the dinner as it was not open to the media. It was really hard not to be able to record everything that was being said. Freeman spoke about how playing a US president and playing God paled in comparison to playing Mandela. Clinton described Madiba as one of his greatest friends, and said that not many people would give up 67 months of their life for others, never mind the 67 years Mandela dedicated to the struggle.

Alicia Keys and Josh Groban were there too - and a whole host of great SA artists like Vusi Mahlasela, Sipho Mabuse, Thandiswa Mazwai, Jesse Clegg and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Loyiso and the Soweto Gospel Choir performed. The Reverend Al Sharpton - whom we have heard a lot from since Michael Jackson's death - also attended. Didn't get a chance to ask him what he thinks about the talk that MJ's death could be investigated as a homocide...

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