Nelson Mandela joined several A-list celebrities and musicians — including actor/rapper Will Smith and singer/songwriter Annie Lennox — on Saturday, for an international benefit concert that raised money for South African women suffering from HIV and AIDS, according to Reuters.
The concert, the second such event of its kind, raised more than $832,000 for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, an organization founded by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former South African president as another weapon in the fight against the AIDS epidemic. The money will fund life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs for those living with the disease in South Africa, perhaps the country hardest hit by AIDS, with more than 5 million of its 45 million people infected with the HIV virus.
Will Smith hosted the star-studded event, which featured performances from Lennox, Queen and India.Arie, among others. Actor Brad Pitt, who was expected to attend, apologized for his absence via video message to the more than 15,000 concertgoers who took over the lawns of the exclusive Fancourt golf estate near George, about 250 miles from Cape Town.
"I would love to enjoy the peace and quiet of retirement, but I know that like many of you, I cannot rest easily while our beloved continent is ravaged by a deadly epidemic," Mandela, whose son Makgatho died of an AIDS-related illness in January, told the crowd, according to Reuters. The concert was named 46664, the number Mandela wore while languishing in apartheid-era jails for nearly 30 years. The first 46664 concert was staged in 2003 in Cape Town (see "Britney, 50 Cent, Beyonce, Bono To Perform For AIDS Awareness").