There are many reasons why celebrities have visited Africa, the beauty of the wild open plains, the plethora of wildlife, the incredible diversity of cultures and Africa’s fight for freedom form apartheid that brought the world to its knees when Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black President. This brought much attention to Africa and many celebrities were moved to visit Africa, not only for its beauty, but also to lend a helping hand to countries and people who suffer from poverty, political turmoil, genocide, ‘war torn’ countries and impoverished schools and health care services.
Many celebrities visited Africa just to experience the beauty of it, but there were a few that were moved to help various causes and charities. This article mentions five well-known actresses and singers who have tried and succeeded in lending a loving and helping hand to Africa.
Jessica Alba (Actress)
Jessica Alba has been to South Africa and has a few causes that she has in involved in. In 2010 she co-chaired 1GOAL in Senegal and Ghana which is a campaign to provide education to all children. In 2013, Jessica became an ambassador for Earth Hour – a call to save energy by getting people to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 08h30 to 21h30 on the last Saturday in March. This is one of the world’s largest mass participation events in an attempt to protect the planet.
Jessica also collaborated with Ali Hewson and Bono in the Diesel (clothing designers) + EDUN collaboration for Studio Africa. They travelled to Uganda and Mali and shared their love for Africa, and decided to create a brand of clothing that is entirely manufactured in Africa with the finest cotton from Uganda, designing garments that reflected the African culture, as well as the landscape. These garments were then worn by popular African musicians to promote and share ethical consciousness with creativity.
Natalie Portman (Actress)
Natalie is involved in several campaigns in Africa and is committed to social issues. She is an ambassador for FINCA International (Foundation for International Community Assistance) who provide microloans to women in developing countries.
She also travelled to Uganda and became a part of FINCA’s Village Banking Campaign that actively provides financial services to one million of the world’s lowest-income families. Natalie is also involved in an HIV/AIDS awareness programme – Shoes4Africa. They also assist with education, women’s empowerment and health issues. Shoes4Africa provided its very first public teaching children’s hospital. It is clear that Natalie is passionate about children and education, but also about Africa.
Angelina Jolie (Actress)
Angelina is a true humanitarian and it is clear that she has a deep love for Africa. In 2006 Angelina adopted a six-month-old baby girl from an orphanage in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and named her Zahara Marley. Her and her husband, Brad Pitt decided to give birth to their daughter (Shiloh Nouvel), in Swakopmund, Namibia so that she would have a Namibian passport. Knowing that the paparazzi would take the photographs and make millions from them, the couple decided to rather sell the photographs to Getty Images themselves. Hello! magazine obtained the British rights for a sum of $3.5 million. Angelina and Brad made sure that all of these profits were donated to charities serving African children.
When Angelina was filming Tomb Raider in Cambodia, she became aware of the numerous humanitarian crises around the world. One of her first humanitarian visits was to Africa where she went on an 18-day field mission to Tanzania and Sierra Leone. Here she lived and worked with refugees who had suffered under the hands of rebels during the ongoing civil war.
In 2013 Angelina joined up with Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Here they helped to lead a campaign for the rest of the world to become aware of the sexual violence that takes place in war zones. They spoke to rape victims at a refugee camp and laid wreaths at the Gisozi genocide memorial in Rwanda.
Katy Perry (Actress and Singer)
Katy felt a need to be a part of UNICEF’s (The United Nations Children’s Fund) assignment to Madagascar to raise awareness about the issues facing children in the impoverished country. While there she was witness to UNICEF’s programmes about education on hygiene. She visited the crowded city slums in Madagascar and the most remote villages and she became deeply aware of the need for a healthy lifestyle in these areas. Areas where there is poor nutrition, sanitation, and a need for protection against rape and abuse.
In New York in 2013 she became UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador because she believes and supports the work that they do. Katy stated that “Support for UNICEF is saving children, I am a witness to it.”
Lady Gaga (Singer)
Lady Gaga is a controversial singer and has even been referred to as ‘the bride of satan’. Despite this negative view of her, Gaga has contributed a significant amount of money to South Africa. She has donated US$500,000 and after her tour to South Africa, 40% of the show’s profits went to various anti-hunger foundations in Africa (more than US$4 million).
These celebrities have brought light to many issues that the world is often not aware of. They have taken time away from their homes and travelled far across the globe to see to the needs of others who are less fortunate than they are. They are an inspiration to others, even to those who live in Africa and are not even aware of what their country is going through. Hopefully their actions will spark more and more wealthy celebrities to visit this beautiful country, appreciate what it has to offer and then give back to it so that South Africa can grow and flourish and have a wonderful future.