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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 November, 2003, 09:46 GMT
Aids show is beacon of hope
By Vanessa Asell
Cape Town

Saturday night's concert was a cascade of world-class music entertainment, hope and possibility.

Beyonce
Beyonce played her part in putting over the message
It was a creative musical forum at which artists from all over came together for one cause: to increase HIV/Aids awareness.

Highlights included the opening performance by Beyonce, Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams and U2's frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge playing their song One - in the memory of an Aids victim and friend.

Queen played a medley of songs such as We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions and The Show Must Go On.

Outside the stadium, before the show, a young man was wielding a South African flag. He was sporting a T-shirt that said "Aids positive".

"It is all about removing the stigma of Aids," he said. "We have to learn to understand the disease and those who suffer from it. I am here tonight to give my support for this world problem."

Diversity

The crowd was mixed in age, race and sex. There were strollers, toddlers, old people, young people. Some had 46664 tattoos, others showed support with red ribbon pins.

In the crowd, seated inside the stadium, was a family of seven. The Italian-born husband and wife lived in Cape Town but their daughter, grandchildren, his mother-in-law and sister-in-law had all joined them to spend Christmas in South Africa.

While in the country, they decided to give their support to the fight against Aids by attending the concert.

Wherever there is hope, there is a solution
Yusuf Islam
"We wanted to be here all the family because we must support this beautiful cause that these musicians are in here for," he said. "My family came all the way from Italy to be with us, so here we are tonight."

Later, the singer Miss Dynamite said from the stage: "I have a message to all my ladies out there! There is nothing sexier in the world than being confident with yourself. Respect yourself, and protect yourself.

"Scream all of you ladies! Who out there is not afraid of asking their boyfriend to use a condom? Let me hear you scream!"

She later proceeded to throw out condoms, reaching those standing in the front of the golden circle of Greenpoint Stadium.

Standing ovation

Bob Geldof, giving a speech spiked with humour as he stood with his accoustic guitar on one of the podiums reaching out from the stage, said: "We are here to reinforce today that Aids is political. When rich countries can develop drugs that the poor can't have, then the issue has become political.

"Aids is the reason we are here because a frail gentleman (Nelson Mandela), a giant of this planet, is here tonight and you can't refuse him anything."

Youssou N'Dour and Annie Lennox
Senegal's Youssou N'Dour sang with Eurythmics' Annie Lennox
Yusuf Islam - formerly known as Cat Stevens - introduced one of his best-known songs with the words: "Wherever there is hope, there is a solution. We are going to play a combination of old and new, and some of it may be too old for you to remember."

One of the most powerful moments was when Bono and an African choir led on A Long Walk to Freedom, an original song written for the 46664 campaign, singing the refrain until Nelson Mandela walked in on stage.

The audience, giving their hero a standing ovation, clapped for so long that he was almost moved to tears on stage. People even started to sing the refrain again.

"Aids is no longer a disease, it is a human rights issue," said Mr Mandela.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Alastair Leithead
"Seasoned campaigners and the stars of today together in concert at the special request of Nelson Mandela"



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