July 18, 2009

Celebs to honor Mandela at N.Y. concert

Anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela says he is humbled by efforts to honor his 91st birthday, including a musical tribute in New York.

The former South African president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, prepared a videotaped message for Saturday's scheduled birthday events since he does not have the strength to travel for such ceremonies, The Times of London reported.

We are humbled by the call for an annual Mandela Day in our honor. It is our hope that people will dedicate their time and effort to improve the conditions within their own communities, said Mandela, who will celebrate his birthday in South Africa with family and friends.

The Radio City Music Hall celebration in New York in honor of Mandela will include performances from stars such as Carla Bruni, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys.

Former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart spoke with The Times about his planned duet with Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at Saturday's concert.

It is addictive to listen to, and she writes very beautiful melodies and plays guitar well, he said of Bruni's musical works.