Kidjo to star in 46664 concert

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Angelique Kidjo, one of the top artists billed to perform at the much-awaited 46664 Concert at Ellis Park on December 1, is a formidable music powerhouse who is not new to this cause and shores.

Kidjo made a memorable appearance at the first 46664 concert back in 2003 and has since taken on the role of an international ambassador for the charity.

She is also adored by South African music fans as she has performed in this country on several occasions in the past. Each time she has attracted many of her fans to the concerts as well as gaining new ones.

"I visited Robben Island just before the first 46664 concert and I understood that Nelson Mandela could not have spent all those years standing up for his continent just to let it be hurt by a disease that can be prevented and cured if there is a strong political will.

"That's the message we will be sending this time: we will not forget about this until change is made," says Kidjo.

Number 46664 was Nelson Mandela's prison number on Robben Island, where he was held in captivity for 18 years. He was the 466th prisoner to be incarcerated on the island in 1964.

In 2002 Mandela gave his prison number 46664 to Dave Stewart of Eurythmics who, along with fellow artists Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, was instrumental in persuading more than 30 of the world's great artists to join Mandela at an all-star concert in Cape Town in November 2003 to raise funds to fight Aids.

Through radio and television coverage, the concert delivered the 46664 message to more than two billion people in 166 countries, the most widely distributed media event in history.

Similar events have since been staged in George in Western Cape, Madrid in Spain, and Tromso in Norway.

Under the guidance of Mandela, 46664 is a campaign vehicle of the Nelson Mandela charitable organisations.

The number's aim is to raise awareness of the global HIV-Aids pandemic as well as funds to support the ongoing 46664 campaign and the projects it directly supports in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project funds for 46664 are used to develop and support practical programmes for the prevention, testing, care and support for those infected and affected by HIV-Aids in Africa.