In honour of Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday, Music Television (MTV) will host a 60-minute television special focussing on youth-related issues in July 2003. Produced in Johannesburg, the global broadcast will feature Mr. Mandela speaking one-on-one with four young people whose stories are meant to provide a personal perspective on world problems. These issues include HIV/AIDS awareness and conflicts like that between Israel and Palestine. The expected audience is 2 billion people worldwide.
Communication Strategies: 

Hosted by United-States-based singer Beyoncé Knowles, the special will offer a historical look at Mr. Mandela's life. It will also feature open discussion between Mandela and young people from around the world who are facing difficult issues like HIV/AIDS, political leadership, war, and religious conflicts. Four young people were flown to Johannesburg to share their stories. Henry Hudson Luyombya from Kampala, Uganda tested positive for HIV in 2001, not too long after his father and brother died of AIDS. Min Zin fled Burma to escape political persecution. He lives in exile in Thailand, while he continues to fight the regime that has power in his country. Guy Levy's sister Rachel was killed when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself up in a crowded market. Jumana Issa Al-Ali's father was killed by Israeli soldiers while he was out running errands. Commenting on his interactions with these young people, Mandela said, "ultimately, it is their lives and futures we are all celebrating." During the broadcast, Mandela will address the young people's personal conflicts in the context of his struggle for the freedom of democratic principles. His message urges tolerance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

The special will air in the USA on July 18 2003 at 8pm. The show is being offered rights-free to all 3rd party broadcasters worldwide. Broadcasters who have already signed up to air the special include CCTV (China), Doordarshan (India), SABC (South Africa), TV Africa (pan-African network), Network Ten (Australia), ICP (Israel), ERT (Greece), YTR (Yugoslavia), CCN TV6 (Trinidad & Tobago), and Channels 3 & 7 (Guatemala), among others. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will distribute the special free via satellite to its 71 member broadcasters in 52 countries in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS, Conflict, Youth.

Key Points: 

This special is part of MTV's Fight For Your Rights: Protect Yourself campaign, an effort to educate and empower young people with regard to their sexual health. Other elements of the campaign - which focuses on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unintended pregnancy - include a sexual health website for young people; grassroots events and advocacy opportunities nationwide; and a resource and referral service (1-888-BE SAFE 1) that connects viewers to local STI testing clinics, pregnancy counselling, and a free sexual health guide. In tandem with the Fight For Your Rights campaign, MTV launched the Staying Alive HIV/AIDS awareness campaign (click here for a programme description); this special also marks the 2003 debut of that campaign.

Partner Text: 

Produced in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNAIDS, the World Bank, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Family Health International's YouthNet.


Press release posted to the Aids-Africa forum on July 5 2003.

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