Mandela urges world business to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa

Blantyre- Malawi (PANA) -- Former South African president Nelson Mandela Thursday concluded his hectic two-day visit to Malawi with a call to political and business leaders in the world to help sub-Saharan Africa fight what he termed as the region's greatest "war on humanity.
" Speaking at the lakeshore resort district of Mangochi where he was awarded a Rotary International Paul Harris Great Son of Africa Award, Mandela said HIV/AIDS was the greatest menace the region has faced in centuries.
"HIV/AIDS presents a greater menace than all the wars, human disasters that have occurred in past centuries," he said.
"It's a war against human kind, it is obliterating our children, our youth.
" Mandela also called on African societies to abandon the taboo associated with the discussion of sexual matters between parents and children.
He said that if African parents continued to regard sexual matters as taboo subjects, they would unwittingly be signing death warrants for their children.
"We must educate our young people about how to engage in safe sex, having one partner and always to use protective measures like condoms," he said.
The former South African leader also poked fun at his health.
He said that having overcome tuberculosis during his 27-year incarceration on Robben Island, he was recently also diagnosed with prostrate cancer.
He said that although his doctors assured him that his condition was curable, he dismissed the assurance as the usual doctor-speak.
He nonetheless said that if he had died he could still proclaim victory over cancer because he would have gone straight to the nearest branch of the ANC in heaven to renew his membership.
"But my doctors have managed to cure me so I no longer have cancer," he said.
Apart from the Rotary International Award, the Malawi government also conferred on Mandela the Grand Commander of the Lion of Malawi First Class award, the country's highest accolade.

23 may 2002 13:45:00

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