translation agency

CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Mandela Joins Celebrities to Launch an Appeal to Fund AIDS
Jack Garland
October 22, 2003
Associated Press (10.21.03) - Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Nelson Mandela joined stars from the music world in London Tuesday to raise HIV/AIDS awareness with a fund-raising campaign named in his honor. The international appeal, "46664, Give 1 Minute Of Your Life To AIDS," uses Mandela's prison number from his almost two decades of incarceration on Robben Island in South Africa.

At a news conference, Mandela said AIDS is now "a human rights issue" and an unfolding tragedy of "unprecedented proportions." "Millions of people today infected with AIDS are just that - a number. They, too, are serving a prison sentence for life, that is why for the first time I am allowing my prison number, 46664, to brand this campaign," said Mandela.

Conceived by former Eurythmics star Dave Stewart and put into place in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, the 46664 campaign urges people to telephone a premium-rate line to hear a celebrity message and unreleased songs recorded by top musicians. Callers are logged as having given their support to a petition calling on governments to declare a global AIDS emergency. The fund-raising element of the appeal will vary from country to country, with the Mandela Foundation being the ultimate beneficiary.

A Nov. 29 concert in Cape Town's Greenpoint Stadium is also planned, which will be broadcast around the world via television, radio and the Internet. Musicians scheduled to perform include 50 Cent, Beyonce, Queen, Moloko and Ms Dynamite. According to a spokesperson, a CD and DVD of music are to be released early next year, with profits to go to the foundation.

At the news conference, Sir Richard Branson, chair of Virgin Atlantic, a sponsor of the campaign, noted, "It is wonderful to have someone of Mr. Mandela's authority and respect to spearhead such a campaign, especially at a time when the Catholic Church are trying to tell young people not to wear condoms."