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Saturday, 2 November, 2002, 23:01 GMT
Mandela and Diana charities join forces
Nelson Mandela (centre), Earl Spencer (right) and an aide walk on bridge to island where Princess Diana is buried
Mr Mandela (centre), Earl Spencer (right) and an aide
The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund are launching a joint offensive to combat Aids in South Africa.

At a dinner in London, the former South African president said they would try to improve care and support for more than 660,000 youngsters orphaned by country's aids crisis and families living with the HIV.

The offensive would "give hope to families and children affected by HIV/aids in the poorest parts of South Africa", Mr Mandela added.

Nelson Mandela wearing an Aids awareness ribbon
President Mandela and Diana met in 1997

He and Diana planned a joint offensive at a meeting five months before her death in August 1997.

Mr Mandela said she had made a great impression on him and news of her death had been completely devastating.

He called on people across the world to learn from Diana and "embrace her legacy".

"Her inspiration must continue to change lives," he said.

Enemy

Diana had "passion and commitment" for caring for the dying and helping the bereaved, Mr Mandela added.

"She transformed public attitudes and improved the life chances of such people.

"Her love for children went beyond the European borders and boundaries."

Diana had used her celebrity status to "fight stigma attached to people living with HIV /aids", Mr Mandela said.


While the research for a cure continues, four principles, love, support, acceptance and care for those affected, can make us winners

Former South African president Nelson Mandela

"Princess Diana went to a hospital in London with HIV patients.

"She shook their hands and sat on their beds."

An estimated 4.7million South Africans - 10% of the population - including 250,000 children are infected with the virus.

Mr Mandela said: "Aids is our number one enemy. This enemy can be defeated.

"While the research for a cure continues, four principles, love, support, acceptance and care for those affected, can make us winners."

On Friday, Mr Mandela laid a wreath at the Princess's resting place, on her brother's Althorp estate in Northamptonshire.

See also:

01 Nov 02 | England
11 Oct 02 | England
08 Feb 02 | Africa
28 Aug 01 | Africa
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