U2’s Bono has teamed up with former Clash frontman Joe Strummer to write a tribute song to Nelson Mandela to be played at a huge Aids fundraiser, it was announced today.
Acts such as Coldplay, Queen and Ms Dynamite are among the acts scheduled to perform at the Aids benefit show at Mandela’s former South African prison home of Robben Island.
Also on the bill is Yusuf Islam, who as Cat Stevens had a string of Seventies hits before his conversion to Islam.
Bono and Strummer have written their track – called 48864 and named after Mandela’s prison number – with Eurythmics star Dave Stewart.
Stewart, the Mandela SOS Concert’s musical director, said the track focused on the former South African president’s courage in speaking out against apartheid.
He now hopes to work out a deal with international phone firms allowing people to dial 48864 to donate cash.
The day-long concert is to take place in a field, surrounded by barbed wire, just outside the prison walls on February 2.
Other acts on the bill include South African music star Johnny Clegg, who is originally from Rochdale, Macy Gray, Nelly Furtado and Shaggy.
Only 2,500 tickets will be available for the event, which is to be broadcast on the Internet and by some TV companies.
But a simultaneous show will be held in a 30,000 capacity Cape Town stadium and action from Robben Island will be beamed on to a massive screen.
About 4.7 million South Africans – one in nine – are HIV positive, and statesman Mandela, 84, has been a vocal campaigner.
Roger Taylor of Queen said of the show: “We can think of no better time, place or cause for us to return to the stage.”
The band lost their singer Freddie Mercury to an Aids-related illness in 1991 and they have relied on a number of temporary stand-ins.
There have been rumours that George Michael may perform with the band in the near future. He has previously sung with Queen in concert.