Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Mengwen Cao
Citizenship

Nelson Mandela Taught Naomi Campbell to Be Her 'Authentic Self'


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Nelson Mandela was one of the world’s greatest humanitarians. Known as a champion for women, the sick, education, children, and the environment, Naomi Campbell shared a personal anecdote showing how Mandela spread peace and justice around the world. You can join us in continuing Mandela’s legacy here

Supermodel Naomi Campbell learned a few life lessons from Nelson Mandela, the late president of South Africa.

Campbell had the honor of presenting a tribute to the independence leader who would’ve turned 100 in 2018 at Global Citizen’s New York festival in Central Park Saturday. 

Take Action: Ensure All South Africa’s Children Grow Great

“Mandela did not care much for tributes, and to me, he will always simply be ‘Grandad,’” Campbell shared about the political leader. 

Her relationship with Mandela goes way back. On stage, the philanthropist remembered meeting the revolutionary in 1994. 

After their meeting, Campbell organized a Versace fashion show in 1998 to benefit Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund. 

She started explaining Mandela’s impact on the country: “He was bigger than the sun,” she described. 

Campbell, who’s spoken out against the racial prejudice she’s experienced in the fashion industry, informed the crowd about the mark Mandela left on the country by destroying the systemic racial discrimination that ruled over South Africa between 1948 and 1994, known as apartheid. 

Read More: South African President Ramaphosa Honours Nelson Mandela In His Debut UN Speech

“He did it all with very few words,” Campbell said of his fight.

“Grandad was charismatic and easygoing. His power came often from what he left unsaid,” she remembered. 

Read More: 7 Ways Nelson Mandela's Legacy Still Resonates Today

“Madiba taught me, above all else, to be my true, authentic self. He taught me to be true to whatever I commit myself to supporting, and to stick to my integrity,” Campbell told the crowd before a moving clip of Mandela speaking at a rally played.

Naomi Campbell Global Citizen 2018Image: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

Kweku Mandela and Martin Luther King III joined Campbell on stage to ask the current generation to continue Mandela’s legacy.

“We must protect the rights of the most marginalized and oppressed. We must eradicate the criminalisation of poverty and race,” King III said.

Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 will take place on Dec. 2 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  


The 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York will be presented for the very first time by Citi. MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal will air a live simulcast of the Festival on MSNBC and MSNBC.com. The Festival will also be livestreamed on YouTube and Twitter, presented by Johnson & Johnson. Proud partners of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival include Global Citizen’s global health partner and major partner Johnson & Johnson, and major partners P&G, CHIME FOR CHANGE Founded by Gucci, Verizon, House of Mandela, iHeartMedia, and NYC Parks. Associate partners include Microsoft, Great Big Story, and One Championship.

GCF_NYC_2018_admat_Janet.png