by Rob Evans
Bono of U2, Peter Gabriel, Beyonce, Eurythmics and the surviving members of Queen are among the acts who are slated to appear at a Nelson Mandela-backed AIDS awareness benefit concert dubbed "46664," which takes place in South Africa on Nov. 29.
Others on the bill include Abdel Wright, Anastacia, Angelique Kidjo, Baaba Maal, Bongo Maffin, Danny K, Gary Mudbone Cooper, Jimmy Cliff, Johnny Clegg & Sipho Mchunu, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ms Dynamite, Paul Oakenfold, Ready D, The Corrs, Watershed, Youssou N'Dour, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Zola and Zucchero.
Organizers claim that the three-hour concert will be the "most widely distributed media event in history," with a potential audience of more than 2 billion people in 166 countries. It will be simulcast on the concert's website from Cape Town's Greenpoint Stadium.
According to organizers, the show will be broadcast live on South Africa's SABC network and on 71 European Broadcasting Union member stations. The BBC World Service will broadcast the concert live on radio in 14 languages, and MTV network stations worldwide will premiere the concert on Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day.
Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May are among the artists who have already arrived in Cape Town for the concert. Queen frontman Freddie Mercury died of AIDS 12 years ago. "Anastacia has said she would like to do a set with us as a tribute to Freddie," May said in a statement.
The concerts will raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation's AIDS work in Southern Africa via online donations and telephone numbers that will be given out during the concert broadcasts.
"48864" is the title of a song written by Bono, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, and the late Joe Strummer. Mandela wore the number in prison.
The concert was originally scheduled to take place on Feb. 2 from Robbin Island, the former South African prison where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, but was canceled due to contractual problems.