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Mandela gives another minute of his life to Aids
Former South African president Nelson Mandela is to address a major international Aids conference in Bangkok, Thailand, next week.

Former president Nelson Mandela is to address a major international Aids conference in Bangkok, Thailand, next week, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the International Aids Society said on Wednesday.

Mandela will address an estimated 15 000 delegates next Thursday at the 15th International Aids Conference about his campaign, "46664: Give one minute of your life to Aids."

"Although Mr Mandela recently announced his retirement... he will be in attendance at the special screening of '46664: The Message', a one-hour special on the 46664 all-star concert staged in Cape Town last year. Following the screening, he is set to address the assembled delegates on what more they can do to help 46664, his campaign to raise awareness of the global HIV/Aids pandemic," the organisations said in a joint statement.

The previous day, Mandela's wife Graca Machel would chair satellite link-up discussion hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the social impact of HIV/Aids in Southern Africa.

The satellite session is intended to profile the work of the Foundation and to put the 46664 campaign into context.

The session will build on Mandela's address to the 13th International Aids Conference held in South Africa in 2000, which led to a massive movement to increase access to HIV/Aids care in developing countries.

Mandela officially "retired from retirement" on June 1, saying at the time that as he approached his 86th birthday, he wanted time for reading, thinking and quiet reflection, and that the memoirs of his presidential years, "now really need my urgent attention".

"I'm confident that nobody present here today will accuse me of selfishness if I asked to spend time, while I'm still in good health, with my family, my friends and also with myself," the president emeritus added.

Contrary to expectation, he has kept a busy schedule since. Mandela said the work of the three "legacy organisations" that bore his name would continue and told the sceptics who had heard retirement promises before, that "it's for real".

The Foundation's chief operating officer Tim Scholtz said at the time that his diary had not been cleared completely yet, but entries would be scaled down considerably.

The other two organisations bearing Mandela's name are the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which works for the well-being of children, and the Mandela/Rhodes Foundation, which provides scholarships. - Sapa