Hyde Park concert to mark Mandela's 90th

Nelson Mandela is to make a rare public appearance in London next month for a Live Aid-style concert to mark his 90th birthday, it was announced today.

The former South African president, who has retired from public life, will be joined by some of the biggest names from the worlds of pop and politics at the Hyde Park event, organisers said.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former US President Bill Clinton, talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton are among those expected to attend.

An eclectic line-up of performers at the concert on 27 June is due to include Queen, the Sugababes, Dame Shirley Bassey, Razorlight, Jamelia and two of the Corrs.

Proceeds will go to Mr Mandela's 46664 campaign which raises awareness about Aids in Africa and elsewhere, taking its name from the former president's prison number during his captivity on Robben Island.

A total of 46,664 tickets will be issued, going on sale on Friday.

The gathering will also tie in with the 20th anniversary of the June 1988 Free Mandela concert in London.

Some of those taking part such as Simple Minds and Annie Lennox - through Eurythmics - took part in that event.

Organisers are also promising a few surprise appearances.

The event is likely to be a landmark for Mr Mandela who will use the concert to step down from his campaign work at the 46664 organisation.

In a message on the 46664 website he said: "You all know that I am supposed to be retired but when you retire it means that you can have time for birthdays.

"My friends and the charitable organisations 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.

"London wants to celebrate my birthday and I said I would go if they would raise funds for our charities.

"So, we have a bargain - I am going to London and they there will host a concert in Hyde Park, which will raise awareness of our continuing work and much needed funds."

Mr Mandela is 90 on 18 July. Events will be held around the world to mark the birthday.

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