The R&B singing sensation wows local fans on and off the stage while touring the country in high style, creating moments of nostalgia
Diva superstar Mariah Carey and her entourage are being shuttled around South Africa in four large Mercedes sedans with tinted windows and a police escort.
The singer even fitted in a lion-sighting during a safari jaunt near Cape Town on Friday, ahead of her concert in Johannesburg tonight, with four-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe in tow.
The 47-year-old singer is in the country for the local leg of her Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour, which includes concerts in 26 cities and features hits such as Hero and Always Be My Baby.
On Monday she arrived in Cape Town, where local fans stood waiting in the rain to welcome her at the city’s five-star One & Only Hotel ahead of her performance at the Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, she took to Instagram to wish South Africans a blessed Freedom Day and posted a photograph of herself with late president Nelson Mandela.
Carey, known to her die-hard fans as Mimi, stayed in the One&Only’s presidential suite, which has terraces overlooking the V&A Waterfront’s marina and Table Mountain. The suite also has its own butler’s kitchen, private gym and massage bed.
During the week, she slipped into a skintight black dress and towering stilettos to dine at the hotel’s posh Japanese restaurant Nobu, where a serving of langoustine sashimi costs R320.
Two bodyguards kept vigil as she had supper with her twins, make-up artist Kristofer Buckle and tour manager Stella Bulochnikov.
On Monday, cruise ship employee Dean Garnet Hann (24) from Cape Town waited seven hours to spot his pop music hero.
“Initially, I was inside the hotel’s foyer, but a security guard asked me to leave. So I waited in the hotel’s driveway with four other fans for three hours. It was drizzling ... Then four big Mercedes sedans with tinted windows arrived, escorted by one police van. I knew it was her,” he said.
He went back inside to the hotel’s Vista Bar, where he racked up a R500 tab ordering hot chocolate and sparkling wine while he waited.
“Then I saw one of her dancers, Bryan Tanaka, striding across the foyer. I went up to him and said, ‘Hi, Bryan.’ He was cool, and is superhot in real life ... so sexy. He injured himself in Italy some time back, breaking a femur, so I asked him how he was feeling. He posed for pictures with us,” said Hann.
Buckle, make-up artist to Tinseltown’s A-list, was the next famous face to saunter through the bar area, followed 10 minutes later by the diva herself.
“I shouted to her, ‘Mariah, could we please have a picture with you, for the nostalgia’ (a word Carey often uses to denote good memories to fans). By using that word, she knew I was a true fan.
“She left her entire entourage and bodyguards to head over to us. We asked for a picture and she said, ‘Sure, my darlings.’”
For a few magical moments, his arm was wrapped around his all-time idol’s waist, and he could smell her perfume. “Oh man, it was incredible,” said Hann.
“I have seen her before at a show in Las Vegas, but have never been this close. My arm was, like, completely around her.”
Other guests rushed closer and Carey patiently posed for selfies before heading to Nobu for dinner.
Outside the hotel, Hann was interviewed for Mariah’s World, a documentary series on Carey, scheduled to air on the E! Entertainment channel.
It is not surprising that the diva decided to stay at the One&Only, as she also attended the hotel’s star-studded VIP opening bash, hosted by owner Sol Kerzner, in 2009. Other guests on the night included Mandela and Hollywood royals Sharon Stone, Morgan Freeman, Thandie Newton, Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro.
Carey also visited South Africa in 2007 for the A-list opening of talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s leadership academy, which was also attended by Mandela.