Kweku Mandela & Mick Sheldrick speak about raising $7.2bn

Recently we hosted an intimate and exclusive event at our Redfern offices in partnership with Global Citizen, fresh from the immensely successful Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, honouring Nelson Mandela’s legacy and marking his 100th year. The event was one of the most successful platforms for the objective to eradicate extreme poverty and associated issues by 2030. Think: ‘Live Aid 2018’.

Beyonce and Jay-Z at Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

With a goal of raising $1 billion in financial commitments, the final result was a figure seven times that: a monumental $7, 096, 996, 725 (ZAR 99, 503, 546, 297). The event was initiated by Mandela’s grandson Kweku, who originally approached the Australian-born Global Citizen CEO, Hugh Evans, with the idea after the success of Global Citizen Festival India in 2016.

Many local celebrities performed at the event: huge Nigerian artists like Wizkid and Tiwa Savage, as well as international icons like Pharrell Williams, Ed Sheeran, Usher and Stormzy. South African-born late-night talk show host, political commentator and comedian Trevor Noah hosted the event, which was capped off with performances by Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

At our event there were a number of inspiring discussions; Kweku Mandela, who recapped the Mandela 100 event and discussed his vision for a more prosperous African continent, Mick Sheldrick, the Global Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Global Poverty Project, and our CEO, Clive Burcham, who talked about The Conscience Organisation’s involvement in addressing the global issue of Violence Against Children.

Oprah Winfrey speaking during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100

At the Festival, Mandela’s great-grandson, Luvuyo Mandela, called for “all of us to pick up and contribute to the long walk to freedom, demanding freedom and defeating poverty by 2030.” Kweku showed us that he, too, is not content with riding in the wake of his grandfather’s legacy. Kweku’s goals show a man keenly attuned to our current global political, cultural and social climate and driven to be a part of change for the better. In relation to South Africa, and Africa as a whole, which he described as going through a terrible time, he said this:

“We have this emerging youth: over 700 million people – 70% of our population – is young. And they’re looking for opportunities. And at times it can be hard for our governments to keep up with that. But that doesn’t mean they [young people] don’t have a chance to create successful businesses, to realise that they can be leaders in their community and ultimately that they can lift themselves, if they live in extreme poverty, out of that.

We embarked on this ambitious campaign to not only celebrate my grandfather’s legacy … but also to reunite a sense of renewal in the African continent … We live in a modern world that is so polarised, you’re either left or right, blue or red. How do we break down those barriers? How do we teach the next generation that not only unity but collective actions mean something?”

Kweku Mandela
Left-to-right: The Conscience Organisation CEO Clive Burcham, Global Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Global Poverty Project Mick Sheldrick and Africa Rising Foundation co-founder Kweku Mandela.

During his speech, Kweku touched on the role that Australian activism played in ending Apartheid in South Africa, despite the geographical distance, and extended to us the opportunity to step up and take action:

“Our journey to ending extreme poverty by 2030 continues. And I don’t think we can tell that story properly if we don’t bring this festival to Australia. Our hope is to do this by 2030. And all of you factor into that.”

The Conscience Organisation has been involved with Global Citizen since its inception and is playing an active role in the global sphere through its involvement in the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GP EVAC).

Clive Burcham and Mick Sheldrick speaking at our event in Redfern.

Mick Sheldrick and Clive Burcham took to our stage to discuss Global Citizen and The Conscience Organisation’s commitment, addressing the various issues facing children in poverty. Mick Sheldrick said, “This issue is one that also came to the floor. This issue of violence in our schools. It’s hidden, it’s invisible, but it’s there and it’s a serious issue and I think as we look at the next two years one thing is making sure we get those stories out. We can’t achieve education for all without tackling this issue.”

Screenshot from our End Violence Against Children Campaign Video, which played at our event in Redfern.

“Violence against young people touches everyone in some way, either as a survivor or through someone close to us. It’s preventable and not confined to the developing world. 1 billion children – nearly half of the world’s children – from all walks of life are affected every year by violence, 250 million of them in schools. They are confronted by physical violence, sexual violence, violent discipline, intimate partner violence and so many more. So there is a cost to society. Plus the global cost of violence against children is estimated at over $7 trillion per year, which is slightly more than 5% of global GDP.”

Clive Burcham, Founder and CEO, The Conscience Organisation
Clive Burcham and Dr Howard Taylor, Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

On working with us on ending violence against children, Mick Sheldrick said:

“Clive’s name has been bandied around since the start (of Global Citizen) because of course in this very building is where Global Citizen started … He’s been a great champion and it’s an honour to partner with him on the End Violence Against Children in Schools campaign … [which] was a big part of the [most recent] festival. As we mentioned, we had all these young people come together across the African continent, who essentially put together a manifesto, working with Clive, UNICEF, and other partners to call on the world to rally behind this concept. And that will be presented to world leaders at the Education World Forum in London.”

Mick Sheldrick, Global Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Global Poverty Project

Working with partners to achieve positive outcomes that help children that have been affected by violence in all its forms is one of The Conscience Organisation’s primary goals for 2019. In partnership with Global Citizen, UNICEF and The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, we look forward to the opportunity to play a role.