MTV To Broadcast Nelson Mandela 85th Birthday Special, Including Discussion of HIV/AIDS, Other IssuesMTV today will air an hour-long program, titled "Meeting Mandela: A Staying Alive Special," to mark former South African President Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday, Christian Science Monitor. During the program, Mandela speaks with young people about AIDS, war and other issues (Itano, Christian Science Monitor, 7/18). The program, to be hosted by singer Beyonce Knowles and produced in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNAIDS, World Bank, Kaiser Family Foundation and Family Health International's YouthNet, will premiere on MTV at 8 p.m. ET as part of the "Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself" sexual health awareness campaign. The show will be available for free to third-party broadcasters throughout the world, and many have already signed on to air the special, including CCTV (China), Doordarshan (India), SABC (South Africa), TV Africa (pan-African network) and Network Ten (Australia). In addition, for the second year in a row, the European Broadcasting Union will distribute the campaign's programming free via satellite to its 71 member broadcasters in 52 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The program is expected to be viewed by more than two billion young people (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/2). Mandela said, "Young people face so many difficult decisions to make in life today. It is important to talk openly about subjects like HIV/AIDS, war, political leadership and religion so that young people can make informed decisions about these issues" (Brown, West Australian, 7/17). Speaking at the launch of an educational satellite channel, Mandela said that he remains "passionate about dealing with [South Africa's] health care challenges, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS." He added, "I will spend the rest of my days trying to help secure a more educated and healthier South Africa" (AFP/Yahoo!News, 7/16).
A video preview of the program is available online in RealPlayer. The excerpt shows a discussion between Mandela and Henry, a Ugandan HIV advocate involved in peer counseling and education.
Several newspapers profiled Mandela's work against apartheid and in raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic:
Christian Science Monitor, "Mandela energizes AIDS fight" (Christian Science Monitor, 7/18).
- Johannesburg's Mail & Guardian, "Celebrating Mandela" (Mail & Guardian, 7/18).
- London's Independent, "Mandela at 85 -- The man, the myth" (Whitaker, Independent, 7/18).
- Toronto's Globe and Mail, "Amid a flood of praise, Mandela marks 85 years" (Nolen, Globe and Mail, 7/18).