Some people who attended the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 event held at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Sunday were attacked by gangs of juveniles, stabbed and robbed of cellphones and handbags, according to countless social media posts.
According to witnesses, the attacks happened in the vicinity of the Sasol Garage situated close to the FNB Stadium in the early hours of Monday morning as people made their way home.
Catherine Constantinides, director of Miss Earth SA, tweeted that the experience was “horrifying”.
“There was no SAPS present, nothing. The screaming of girls and people everywhere still rings in my head. People running away, holding bricks because they feared for their safety.
“They knifed people, burning people. It was horrifying,” Constantinides tweeted.
“I’m deeply pained by the trauma [and] reality of what we went through last night. It was more than mugging and taking phones. You prayed with your life not to be stabbed/punched or brutally attacked — all of which I witnessed.”
Vanessa Perumal, music publicist and managing director at JT Communication Solutions, told News24 that she had attended countless concerts as part of her work and had never experienced anything like this before.
“We were walking with thousands of people past the buses towards the Sasol Garage to get an Uber.
“Then we heard people screaming. It was the weirdest thing possible. Youngsters, boys, were running towards us and stealing phones and pulling bags off people. It was chaos, it was so unreal. How was this even possible?”
Global stars such as Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed at the event hosted by Mandela 100 and the Motsepe Foundation.
The event aimed to raise money to end extreme poverty by 2030.
The latest edition in South Africa commemorated what would have been Mandela’s 100th birthday by encouraging a new generation to follow in his footsteps and campaign for change.
Global Citizen tweeted: “After such an inspiring evening, we are saddened to hear the challenges people had while leaving the venue. We have been working to support people getting home safely.”
“The safety of our guests is always of paramount importance to us and we understand and strongly empathise with their hurt and anger,” Andrew Kirk, global director of PR for Global Citizen, said in a statement.
National SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said:
“We are only aware of one robbery, for which one suspect has been arrested. We have not had other cases reported to us yet.