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04 juillet 2005

The Day We Made History... Hour By Hour

...Back in the UK, Cornwall’s contribution to Live8 at the Eden Project near St Austell has started out as a typically chilled-out affair. “It’s filling up slowly,” announces host Peter Gabriel, co-founder of Womad, introducing the acts of Africa Calling which feature some of the best musicians from the continent. Kenyans Ayub Ogada and Uno start proceedings on the main stage but play to a sparse crowd.

The first superstar of the day is Mariza, a Mozambique-born Fado singer now based in Lisbon. Six feet tall, she takes to the stage looking like a princess in a black dress, stunning the audience with her beautiful, evocative voice.

For some in the crowd, the attraction of the Eden concert was worth an overnight coach trip from London. Single mothers Andrea, 30, and Rasheed, 34, have come all the way from London, shunning the Hyde Park show because they didn’t feel it was representative of black Britons. “We don’t listen to Coldplay or U2,” says Rasheed, “yet the concert was supposed to represent us.” For Andrea, “it was better to be here supporting the black African musicians.”

In Johannesburg itself it’s a beautiful highveld mid-winter day. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the air is like champagne. Nelson Mandela will appear later; right now it’s the 4Peace drummers and the Mahotella Queens – three African women in their 60s who began rocking against apartheid decades ago – who are entertaining the crowd in Mary Fitzgerald Square. There’s 50,000 of them – black, white and every shade between, shaking and swaying...

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