'President of Everyone'

30 Nov 2003
...was how Bono introduced Nelson Mandela at last night's '46664 Concert' to boost awareness of the global AIDS pandemic.

Edge and Bono, were joined by Beyonce Knowles and Dave Stewart to perform 'American Prayer' and then Youssou N'dour for '46664 long walk to freedom', a track written for the show.

The five-hour show, at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town was broadcast live on the web and from tomorrow ­ World AIDS Day ­ is rebroadcast online (www.46664.com) and shown on TV worldwide.

Organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the show featured international stars teaming up with local heroes. The Corrs sang with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Peter Gabriel duetted with Yusef Islam and Johnny Clegg while Youssou N'dour joined Annie Lennox on 'Seven Seconds'.

'American Prayer', explained Bono, might have been called African Prayer or Irish Prayer ­ it was about asking "churches to open their doors, to give sanctuary that breaks the stigma that goes with being HIV positive".

"If God loves you, what's the problem?"

He then welcomed Nelson Mandela to the stage, as "The president of everyone, everywhere who loves freedom."

"Aids," said Mr Mandela, "Is no longer just a disease. It is a human rights issue. 46664 was my prison number for the 18 years that I was imprisoned on Robben Island. I was supposed to be reduced to that number." He added that "millions of people infected with HIV and Aids are in danger of being reduced to mere numbers unless we act. They too are serving a prison sentence for life so I have allowed my prison number to help drive this campaign".

Between 34 million and 46 million people around the world are infected with HIV, including 5.3 million South Africans, more than in any other country. The pandemic killed more than 3 million people this year, according to UN figures.

Bob Geldof, organizer of the Live Aid which raised millions for famine victims in Ethiopia in the 1980s, said governments around the world need to make life-prolonging medicines available to all who need them. "The condition is medical, but the solution is political, and that is why we are here today," he said.

Knowles urged the world's youth to practice safe sex and use condoms. "There is nothing sexier than being confident and taking care of yourself," she said. "Protect yourself."

The Edge and Bono returned to the stage near the end of the show to play 'One' before Anastacia, Beyonce and others joined them for Dave Stewart's song 'Amandla'.

More information and news on rebroadcasts and TV airings here46664.tiscali.com


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