Actor Will Smith To Host Second ‘46664’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Concert in South Africa; Mandela To Attend
Former South African President Nelson Mandela on Thursday announced that he will attend next month's "46664" HIV/AIDS awareness concert and that U.S. actor and musician Will Smith will host the event, the SAPA/News24.com reports. Mandela last month in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS announced that his son Makgatho had died of AIDS-related causes (SAPA/News24.com, 2/17). The concert will feature 150 local and international musicians, including Usher and Annie Lennox (AFP/news.com.au, 2/17). The concert is scheduled to be held on March 19 at the Fancourt Hotel, Country Club and Golf Estate in George, South Africa, and will be spearheaded by the musical group Queen, whose original lead singer, Freddie Mercury, died of AIDS-related complications in 1991 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/23/04). Mandela said the concert will focus specifically on HIV prevention among women and children, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 2/17). Mandela said that women and girls in South Africa are six times as likely to be HIV-positive as men, according to the AP/Chicago Tribune. "We do not treat our women with enough dignity and respect," Mandela said, adding, "We must mobilize to act, and act soon, before it is too late" (AP/Chicago Tribune, 2/17). Mandela said he plans to attend the concert even though he has "been told explicitly to retire from public life" (Chiahemen, Reuters, 2/17). The first 46664 concert was held in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 2003 to benefit Mandela's 46664 campaign -- named for his prison number during his nearly 20-year incarceration at the South African prison on Robben Island. Fancourt owner Dr. Hasso Plattner has agreed to underwrite all the costs of the second concert so that the Nelson Mandela Foundation can receive all profits (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/23/04).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.