It’s in our hands to win the fight against HIV/AIDS. This is the message that was set in stone outside the Edinburgh City Chambers earlier this week as Annie Lennox unveiled a memorial to Edinburgh’s lasting connection with Nelson Mandela.
The stone bears the inscription of Mandela’s AIDS charity 46664, along with the engraved handprints of Lennox, a UK ambassador of the charity, and those of Steven, a 15-year-old Edinburgh resident living with HIV. Annie now also fronts her own HIV awareness campaign – Sing, which aims to help the women and children effected by HIV and Aids. Annie founded The SING Campaign, after meeting Mandela for the first time, inspired by his passion for the cause and issues around HIV/Aids in Africa.
The former South African President was given the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in 1997 and is one of only five people still living bestowed with the honor.
Councillor Jenny Dawe, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said:
“Nelson Mandela has represented world peace for decades and he’s an inspiration to us all. That he now dedicates much of his time to the fight against HIV is further testament to his impassioned belief in the rights of people and we are happy to support the effort to raise awareness of the plight of the 40million people across the globe fighting HIV/AIDS.
“I’m delighted that Ms Lennox has been able to give her time to represent Mr Mandela and that Steven has lent his support to illustrate that while HIV/AIDS is a world issue that we all must be aware of, it also affects people closer to home.”
Annie Lennox said:
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity to create a landmark site in the heart of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, where millions of people visit from around the world. As well as honoring Nelson Mandela, It gives the passer-by an opportunity to pause and reflect upon the significance of the HIV Aids pandemic, which is devastating the lives of millions people across the continent of Africa, and across the entire globe.”