In 2002 David Clark partners with President Nelson Mandela to create the “46664” cause brand that would link HIV/AIDS and Human Rights for the first time, rebranding the disease as a Human Rights crisis, since people around the world die because they cannot afford life-saving drugs. Clark stated; “AIDS is no longer just a disease, it is a human rights issue.” President Mandela agrees, and re-brands the AIDS crisis with this message at a 2002 launch event at the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town hosted by President Mandela, David Clark, and attended by Oprah Winfrey and Archbishop Tutu.
The first 46664 benefit concert spearheaded by Clark was broadcast worldwide via MTV on December 1, 2003. The event featured performances by Bono and The Edge, Beyoncé, Queen, The Eurythmics, The Corrs and Bob Geldof. The highlight of the event was an appearance and speech by President Mandela:
A poignant moment at the global concert occurred when Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) came out of retirement after 25 years to perform his iconic hit “Wild World” with Peter Gabriel. In addition, Clark had Bono and Dave Stewart write the music for the title song, “46664 A Long Walk To Freedom,” and Joe Strummer of The Clash wrote the lyrics, which turned out to be the last song he wrote before his death. In honor of his contribution, Joe’s wife Luce and daughter Eliza were guests of honor at the 46664 concert when the song was debuted.
Additional 46664 concerts were staged in Madrid Spain (2005), Tromsø Norway (2005), Johannesburg South Africa (2007), and London England (2008).
“Since over 4,000 people die every day from HIV/AIDS-related causes, it’s hard for people to wrap their minds around such a dehumanizing statistic. In order to make the point that every number actually represents a unique human being, I thought using President Mandela’s prison number for the name of the title song Bono, Joe Strummer and Dave Stewart were working on would be a dramatic way to address this. After all, President Mandela was assigned a prison number like thousands of others, yet we know he never let himself be reduced to just a number. I believed that using a number meant to dehumanize President Mandela would be a poignant way to address the dehumanizing statistics that are HIV/AIDS.” -46664 Creator David Clark