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Kendrick Lamar concert in Kigali kicks off drive to put Africa on the global gig circuit

It has been two decades since Nelson Mandela hosted the first of a series of concerts to raise HIV awareness. The 46664– his prison number – shows featured global stars including Beyoncé, Bono and Queen and were the inspiration for his grandson, Kweku Mandela to produce Move Afrika, a five-year project to establish an annual music tour on the continent. The goal to “promote health and equity, defend our planet, and create jobs and economic opportunity”.

“If you look at some of the largest touring artists in the world, often times their world tours are missing the African continent all together, or in certain cases they come and do one-off shows,” Mandela said. “We feel there is a great need for us to bring a robust touring circuit to the continent.”

The initiative’s debut gig took place on Wednesday in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, headlined by Grammy award winning artist Kendrick Lamar. Held at the 10,000-seat BK Arena, the biggest indoor venue in east Africa, Mandela hopes it will be the first of a series of major concerts.

“We are putting a marker in the sand around live touring events and showcasing the creative economy on the African continent – you’re talking about the world’s youngest population, over 700 million people with the median age of 19,” said Mandela, chief vision officer for , Global Citizen, the advocacy organisation behind the project.

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*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

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