Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign will host two concerts in 2008.
The former South African president made the announcement Saturday (Dec. 1) when he appeared on-stage at the 46664 music event at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium.
The first concert in the 2008 series will take place in London’s Hyde Park on June 27, while the second will be held on World Aid’s Day – Dec. 1 – in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The event, which uses music to raise funds for key HIV/AID-related projects in sub-Saharan Africa, was first held in Cape Town in 2003, and later concerts took place in 2005 in George, South Africa; Madrid, Spain; and Tromso, Norway.
Mandela appeared midway through Saturday night’s show, which saw a mix of international and national artists perform in Johannesburg for the first time under the 46664 banner, which takes its name from Mandela’s prison number during his time incarcerated on Robben Island.
Annie Lennox, a 46664 ambassador since 2003, headlined the concert. The day before, Lennox had told a press conference that being an ambassador was “not like being handed a sweet,” and urged artists to follow-through with on-going activism. Lennox’ latest album “Songs of Mass Destruction” (Sony BMG) contains a song that highlights the Cape Town-based Treatment Action Campaign’s fight to get anti-retroviral drugs to pregnant mothers.
During the Johannesburg concert, organizers screened a film shot during Lennox’ visit to the Eastern Cape, which introduced a young girl with full-blown AIDS. Lennox returned to the stage to introduce a second film that showed the youngster looking healthier after treatment, urging the audience to “tell your government that treatment works”.
Other international performers included British singer Jamelia, Peter Gabriel, Corinne Bailey Rae, American rock acts Live and Goo Goo Dolls and rapper Ludacris. Razorlight were also on the bill with Johnny Borrell reiterating the campaign’s theme with a performance of “It’s In our Hands” at the end of his set.
South Africa was represented by Afro-soul act Freshlyground, indie pop group Cassette, R&B singers Loyiso and Danny K, urban act Jozi, Afro-Pop stars Malaika, rocker Arno Carstens and Prime Circle plus Los Angeles-based Just Jinjer, Johnny Clegg and Grammy Award winners Soweto Gospel Choir. The latter group provided support for much of the artist line-up, including Gabriel on his song “Biko.”
Funds generated from the show and raised through on-air appeals will help support 46664’s three major HIV AIDS projects in Africa — the African Womens’ Development Fund (AWDF), which manages more than 400 HIV AIDS projects across the sub-Saharan continent; the FDC in Mozambizue; and the Goelama project in South Africa.
The concert was broadcast live on South African Broadcasting Corporation’s SABC 2, and online at www.46664.com. The BBC and CNN were among the international broadcasters handling the event.