South African peace icon Nelson Mandela will take his 46664 campaign against AIDS to the Arctic Circle this week to awaken youths in the world's far north to the disease that has ravaged sub-Saharan Africa. "It will be the first concert on such a scale to take place in the Nordic region and has been deliberately sited to provide a platform to deliver a message to the youth of the northern hemisphere that the HIV/AIDS threat now exists on their doorstep," organizers said.
A host of international stars, including Annie Lennox, former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant, and Peter Gabriel will perform under the midnight sun in the third Mandela AIDS concert in Tromsoe, Norway, on Saturday.
The 86-year-old former South African president launched the campaign--named 46664 after the prison number he was given during 27 years in jail under apartheid--in 2003 to raise funds for the battle against an epidemic that has hit Africa harder than anywhere else. He has since hosted two 46664 concerts in South Africa but hopes now to spread the message farther afield that there is an urgent need to fight HIV on the world's poorest continent and among the youths of the former Soviet states where millions of lives are in danger. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was to leave for Norway on Tuesday, also plans to use the concert to send a message to the leaders of the G8 group of industrialized countries, who will meet in Scotland in July, that more needs to be done to fight the disease. (Reuters)