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01 octobre 2007

Nelson Mandela announces Johannesburg 46664 concert

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: The fifth in a series of international concerts former South African President Nelson Mandela has used to raise awareness about AIDS will be held in Johannesburg Dec. 1, an ebullient Mandela told reporters Monday.

"I am very delighted that we are engaging the youth in schools, communities and through the media breaking the silence and stigmas around HIV and AIDS and making them realize that the power to beat the pandemic lies in their own hands," said Mandela, wearing a sweat shirt emblazoned with the 46664, the number apartheid prison authorities gave him and which he has used in his campaigning on social issues since.

"The 46664 campaign has done great work in putting the global spotlight on the issue of HIV and AIDS," Mandela said at a press conference at his Johannesburg offices. "We will continue to use celebrities from the world of music, sports and entertainment to speak to the youth about the disease."

The concert, expected to attract 30-35 international and local artists and draw a crowd of over 50,000 people, will be held to mark World Aids Day on Dec. 1. Details of the lineup will be announced later this month. Previous concerts in Cape Town, Spain and Norway boasted some of the world's top musicians including U2, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Beyonce, Bob Geldof and Angelique Kidjo.
"We are trying to make this concert something very different," said Tim Massey, the international director for the campaign. "This is going to be the greatest concert yet."

The campaign was launched in 2003 by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the funds raised through concerts are used to create awareness of the AIDS pandemic among young people.

An estimated 5.4 million South Africans are infected with the AIDS virus — the largest number in any country in the world — and about 900 people die each day of the disease.

Massey said over 20 million rand (about US$3 million; about €2 million) has been raised through the concerts so far.

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The Associated Press Monday, October 1, 2007

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