On October 14, I was scheduled to headline the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town in Honor of Nelson Mandela and promote its message with my music; "PEACE. Living it!" I donated my performance in honor of peace, balance and sustainability and invited special guests; Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (Brandon Phillips, music director) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Creative Arts Choir (Sibusiso Njeza, choir conductor) to join the performance of my new song "Freedom" featuring Nelson Mandela; which was selected as the Official Summit theme song in honor of Nelson Mandela.
During the production and orchestrating the new song in preparation of the summit, I was notified by my friend, Paolo Petrocelli, founder and president of "EMMA for Peace" that the permanent secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates canceled the World Summit after the Dalai Lama's visa refusal.
It took me 24 hours to digest the news, as you can imagine a lot got canceled; over a year of preparations, 20 plus organizations, loss of millions of dollars in production expenses and of course future revenue for the city of Cape Town. Wow! (sigh)
How ironic, the summit that was supposed to celebrate the message of Nelson Mandela wound up getting sucked into a political financial turmoil defying its own message. I understand that China is South Africa's largest trading partner and that they didn't want to "upset" the Chinese; however the 2013 bilateral trade worth of $65.1 billion could not offset the public conscious and pride when it came to representing the message of Nelson Mandela.
The fourteen Nobel Peace laureates who argued South African President Jacob Zuma to allow the Dalai Lama to visit South Africa had a lot of guts and integrity canceling their scheduled trip to Cape Town.
I know it is not an easy decision to cancel such a major event that impacts so many people, including myself. I am sure that all Nobel Peace Laureates scheduled to attend this summit would have loved to celebrate their achievements next week in South Africa. Their action truly demonstrated this year's theme "PEACE. Living it!" a true dedication to Nelson Mandela!
Along with GEDENK Movement,"Culture for Tolerance," my nonprofit organization I would like to evolve this experience into something more meaningful for all. We are planning to carry on by creating a video for the song "Freedom" that I was scheduled to perform at this summit, with director Kweku Mandela, Mandela's grandson, to further the message of the true essence of "Freedom and Tolerance." After all you cannot buy everything in this life with money and there is no price when it comes to people's choices and people's hearts. We only need to have enough audacity to make a difference!