Address by Nelson Mandela at 46664 Concert, Cape Town

29 November 2003

Welcome to this great event.

We are enjoying a wonderful concert here in Cape Town this evening: the 46664 concert.

46664 is a vital campaign to help fight a tragedy of unprecedented proportions that is claiming more lives than the sum total of all wars, famines and floods.

AIDS is no longer just a disease; it is a human rights issue. It affects people of all ages, but particularly young people. For the sake of all of them and our future, we must act and act now.

For the past six months friends from the worlds of music, entertainment, business and technology have been discussing with us what more they could do. Together the decision was taken to create the 46664 campaign.

46664 was my prison number. For the eighteen years that I was imprisoned on Robben Island I was supposed to be reduced to that number.

Millions of people infected with HIV/AIDS are in danger of being reduced to mere numbers unless we act. They too are serving a prison sentence - for life. So I have allowed my prison number "46664" to help drive this campaign.

46664 will work with governments, charities, artists, agencies and individuals around the world to advance the fight to rid Africa of HIV and to help those affected by AIDS.

It is a unique global initiative using the universal language of music and the wonder of modern technology to take our message to the greatest possible audience.

This evening’s concert features artists from all over the world, helping 46664 to reach particularly our youth because they are so crucial in ensuring a future where we can live in a world free from HIV and AIDS.

But tonight is just the beginning of the campaign. Tonight is the first of a number of events marking a long-term commitment by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, sponsors and partners of 46664.

You can help us by going to the website where you will find your local telephone number to call and pledge your support.

By being with us this evening you are already helping. Together we can fight AIDS and ensure a more secure future for everyone.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation