Human rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela will be feted with a star-studded concert on June 27 at London’s Hyde Park where many of the world’s most powerful figures will pay tribute to one of the most loved leaders of the 20th Century as he turns 90 later this year. The concert will have an audience of 46,664 and will likely be a hot ticket.
Three days of celebrations will culminate in a three-hour evening concert billed as: The 46664 Concert Honouring Nelson Mandela at 90. It will feature specially invited artists: Queen + Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, Leona Lewis, the Sugababes, Dame Shirley Bassey, Razorlight, Andrea and Sharon Corr, Eddy Grant, and Jamelia, along with international 46664 Ambassadors Italy’s Zucchero and Spain’s Amaral.
Among the South African and African artists performing are Johnny Clegg, Sipho Mabuse, multi-South African Music Awards winner Loyiso, Kurt Darren, the Soweto Gospel Choir, AIDS orphan choir The Children of Agape — the subject of the award-winning film feature “We Are Together” — the legendary Papa Wemba and Sudanese “war child” rapper Emmanuel Jal.
The concert will also feature numerous unexpected appearances, with several major artists kept secret; however, it has been leaked, perhaps by accident, that Elton John will be a surprise guest.
Concert proceeds will go to the 46664 campaign, named after Mandela’s former prison number, which raises awareness about the impact of AIDS, especially in Africa, and promotes effective HIV prevention measures throughout the world.
“You all know that I am supposed to be retired but my friends and the charitable organizations that bear my name want to use my 90th birthday year to raise funds to continue our work and so of course I want to help them,” Mandela said in a statement. “So, we have a bargain — I am going to London and they will host a concert in Hyde Park, which will raise awareness of our continuing work and much needed funds.”
General admission tickets are £65 ($127) plus fees.