Mandela has sent a cry of SOS to the world, imploring a global community to address the HIV/AIDS crisis rampant in Africa. The Mandela SOS concert to raise awareness and funds in the AIDS fight will take place February 2 on Robben Island, South Africa – where Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.

Africa has been hit harder by HIV/AIDS than any other region of the world with more than 17 million dead from the disease and another 28.1 million infected with HIV. Currently, there are 11 million AIDS orphans in Africa and experts say without urgent action there may be more than 25 million by the end of this decade.

The Mandela SOS concert hopes to emphasize that it is time for the world’s people to rise above their differences and combine their efforts to fight what has become a tragedy of unprecedented proportions.

“HIV/AIDS is not only a health issue but has risen to become a human rights crisis,” Mandela said. “I am asking each person in every country not to be silent witnesses to this devastation but to answer our SOS by raising both awareness and the vital funds necessary to fight and win against this disease.”

Artists have yet to be announced, but you can bet there will be numerous big names on the bill. Published reports say that Mandela has invited Bono, Macy Gray, Shaggy, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bob Dylan, Elton John, and Michael and Janet Jackson to participate.

The Police were rumored a few weeks ago to be reuniting for the event – even possibly teaming up with Bono. However, those were quickly quashed when Miles Copeland – brother and manager to Policeman Stewart – said the band had not agreed to play at the event.

Tickets to the concert are free and will be distributed by competition or lottery, details of which will be announced shortly. There will be live coverage of the event on, as well as a global TV broadcast.