Mandela birthday concert mixes music with AIDS fight

It was a great concert for one of the "most wonderful people on Earth," in the words of singer Annie Lennox, who spoke from the hearts of the tens of thousands of people who gathered in London's Hyde Park on Friday evening to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, dpa reported.

A host of celebrities including actor Will Smith and singer Leona Lewis joined the audience in a chorus of Happy Birthday in honour of Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is regarded as a moral authority around the world.

Thousands of people from many countries sent Mandela text messages with birthday wishes and expressions of gratitude which were projected onto big screens. Pop groups including Queen, Simple Minds and Razorlight, as well as the performers Eddy Grant, Zucchero, Johnny Clegg and others, made the mild summer evening a four-hour open-air party and an incomparable tribute to the former South African president, who turns 90 on July 18.

Mandela himself provided an especially poignant moment when he - supported by a cane and his wife, Graca - slowly got onto the stage to cheers from the audience. Though frail and marked by health problems, Mandela firmly called for the fight against AIDS to continue.

"I'm happy to be in London to celebrate my birthday. But while we're celebrating, many people in the world are in need ... Our goal is freedom for everyone," Mandela said, meaning freedom from poverty, AIDS, and the AIDS virus HIV. "But after nearly 90 years of life, it's time for new hands to take the burden from people's shoulders. It now lies in your hands."

"It's in our hands" is the motto of Mandela's anti-AIDS campaign 46664, named after the number he wore in prison in South Africa. The country's all-white, minority regime locked up the black anti- apartheid activist for 27 years. Mandela was released in 1990.

Despite his long incarceration, Mandela has always radiated positive energy, noted musician Peter Gabriel. "After 27 years in prison, it wasn't revenge that he wanted, but forgiveness and peace," Gabriel said.

The number 46664 also played a big role on Friday. It served as the name of the concert, for which 46,664 tickets were officially sold. All proceeds were to go to the fight against AIDS. Mandela's anti-AIDS campaign 46664 began with a similar concert a number of years ago.

Mandela's birthday bash blended emotional, rousing appeals for charity with a perfectly staged music show. There were hardly any breaks separating the performances of the more than 20 widely varied artists, almost all of whom showed themselves to be highly motivated and in top form.

With their song Mandela Day, Simple Minds caused many in the audience to break out in goosebumps. A rapping Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, made the crowd dance. And Queen, with singer Paul Rodgers, really let their hair down.

To the surprise of many fans, Amy Winehouse indeed turned up at the concert, appearing well rested a week and a half after collapsing. Self-assured and poised, the 24-year-old soul singer took the stage to the cheers of the huge audience, danced around a little, and strode down the runway on her high-heeled plateau shoes right into the middle of the crowd.

As she sang Rehab and Valerie, Winehouse did not seem fidgety or uncertain, as she often has in the past. She told British broadcaster ITV that after the concert she planned to return to the hospital where she is being treated for emphysema and an irregular heartbeat.

With his song Gimme Hope Jo'anna, Eddy Grant recalled the music world's battle against South Africa's apartheid regime, which reached its zenith 20 years ago. On the occasion of Mandela's 70th birthday, songwriter Jerry Dammers rounded up numerous stars for a concert in London's Wembley Stadium to sing for Mandela's release. Dammers' song Free Nelson Mandela became the movement's anthem and it rounded out Friday's Hyde Park concert.

The ensemble of musicians, led by Winehouse, once again sang Free Nelson Mandela. Alluding to her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, who has been jailed on assault charges, Winehouse could not resist singing cheekily: "Free Blakey, my fella."

Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Loading Bars
Those who ordered missile strikes on Ganja are responsible for war crimes - top official
Glad to see that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is over - Hungarian official
Khazar Consortium in Turkmenistan opens tender for plumbing materials purchase
Azerbaijan showed great heroism during Karabakh war - Turkish Presidential Administration rep (Exclusive) (VIDEO)
Iran - one of radioactive drugs exporters
Turkey names 2M2021 volume of cargo shipment via local ports from Ukraine
Visit of Turkic Council’s delegation to Azerbaijan’s Ganja city starts (PHOTO)
Goal of Turkic Council’s delegation's visit to Aghdam was to see Armenian savagery - Assistant to president
Azerbaijan's Aghdam - clear example of urbicide, says top official (PHOTO)
UAE selects first Arab woman for astronaut training
Azerbaijan moving to new stage of its development – Uzbek Information and Mass Communications Agency rep
Turkmenistan Railways opens tender for purchase of material, technical resources
Cargo movements in Iran’s Bushehr port grow
Kazakhstan’s Vagonservice company opens tender to buy oil filters
Situation in Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district - unprecedented barbarism - Turkish Presidential Administration rep (VIDEO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for April 11
Indonesia's 6.1-magnitude quake leaves 8 deaths
Delegation of Turkic Council reviews building of Aghdam Drama Theater destroyed by Armenians (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry to auction mid-term government bonds
Russia reports over 8,700 daily COVID-19 cases
Turkmen company exports batch of formwork sheets to Turkey
Delegation of Turkic Council visits Azerbaijan’s Aghdam Juma Mosque (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Delegation of Turkic Council visits Imarat cemetery destroyed by Armenians (PHOTO/VIDEO)
President Ilham Aliyev plays very important consolidating role in Turkic Council - SecGen (EXCLUSIVE)
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange disclosed
Georgia reports 707 coronavirus cases, 592 recoveries, 8 deaths
Uzbekistan, Turkey strengthen trade, economic co-op
Visit of Turkic Council's delegation to liberated Aghdam starts (PHOTO)
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
8 rescued, 21 trapped in coal mine accident in Xinjiang
Iran discloses details of exports from industrial parks of Semnan Province
Accident reported at Iran's nuclear facility
Copper ores and concentrates rank first in list of Georgian export
Azerbaijani MoD shows footage from Fuzuli's Ashaghi Rafadinli village (VIDEO)
President of Kyrgyzstan casts vote in local council elections, referendum
India records over 150,000 daily COVID-19 cases, tally at 13,358,805
Saudi-led coalition intercepts Houthi drone
Turkmenistan signs decree on rice production
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's Gilan Province revealed
Azerbaijani Gadabay's Executive Office to engage landscaping services via tender
Turkish Airlines to put its 737 Max jets back in the air next week
Kazakh COVID-19 vaccine to be bottled in Turkey
Submarine cable to connect electrical networks of Georgia, Europe to be additional direct channel for telecommunication traffic
IMF, World Bank urged to contain pandemic with fair, efficient distribution of vaccines
South Korean battery makers agree last-minute deal in boost to Biden's EV policy
Egypt, Sudan reject Ethiopian proposal for data sharing on Renaissance dam
Bezos, Musk top Forbes' record-setting billionaire list
Turkey registers more than 52 600 new coronavirus cases
China-Brunei trade grows by over 70 pct in 2020
Argentina's economy minister heads to Europe to woo finance officials over debts
US boosts imports of Turkish-made clothes
Turkey sends off 2nd boron export train to China
First kidney transplant performed in Turkmenistan
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall in Iran
Iran unveils data of gasoline and petrochemicals exports
New transmission line to provide opportunities for both Georgia’s and EU energy network - expert
Weekly review of key events in Azerbaijan's transport sector
China fines Alibaba record $2.75 billion for anti-monopoly violations
Italy reports 344 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, 17,567 new cases
Azercell’s “Kabinetim” mobile app exceeded 1 million downloads
Pakistani FM to visit Tehran
Funeral for UK's Prince Philip to be held on April 17
Pinterest becomes latest platform to appoint Turkey representative
Italy's economy seen growing 4.1% this year
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Bandar Lengeh port announced
Turkmenistan’s growth of trade turnover in 1Q2021 announced
Turkish electrical goods' 1Q2021 export to Uzbekistan spikes
Azerbaijani president's assistant talks Turkic Council media co-op's systematization
Hungary considers Turkic Council member states important partners
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 11
Uzbekistan ready to actively partake in restoring Azerbaijan's liberated territories
Azerbaijan confirms 2,192 more COVID-19 cases, 1,554 recoveries
Turkey did its best in media coverage of Azerbaijan's Patriotic war - presidential administration
Azerbaijani president's assistant meets with Turkic Council's secretary-general
Briefing of Turkic Council's high-ranking media officials held in Baku (VIDEO)
Anti-Turkic campaigns periodically carried out - Azerbaijani president's assistant
Azerbaijan's victory in Second Karabakh War is victory for entire Turkic world - top official
Azerbaijan working to develop ties between Turkic states - president's assistant
Turkic Council developing roadmap for better co-op with Turkic-speaking countries
Turkic-speaking countries to continue to support Azerbaijan - Turkic Council
Armenia's refusal to provide maps of mines on Azerbaijan's lands is concerning - ambassador
Turkic Council's meeting held in Baku (PHOTO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for April 10
Kazakh, Uzbek PMs launch construction of new 'Central Asia' int'l co-op center
Turkish Ambassador: I've never separated Azerbaijan and Turkey, both are homeland to me
Buta Airways to Start Operating Flights to Zhukovsky Airport
Turkey's support for Azerbaijan in Karabakh war will always be in our memory - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan's MoD organizes visit for foreign military attaches to Air Force military unit
Turkish-Azerbaijani fraternal relations are at highest level today - President Aliyev
Iran's exports via Jolfa border checkpoint increase
Georgia reports 506 new coronavirus cases for April 10
SOCAR's capex to moderate due to SGC, STAR refinery’s commissioning
Certain licenses issued to setting up enterprises in Iran's Markazi Province
Turkey unveils 2M2021 data on freight, passenger traffic through Ankara Esenboga Airport
Azerbaijani oil prices up
Fitch Affirms SOCAR at 'BB+'
Turkmenistan's state budget revenues surpass initial forecast
Georgian TBC Leasing's secured debt rating equalizes with its Long-Term IDR
Azerbaijani president awards former Turkish ambassador with 'Dostlug' order
President Ilham Aliyev receives Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozoral (PHOTO)
All news