This column is part of Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb. The words and pics are by Debbie Kreuser.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

UPDATE - February 19, 2011
FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

In my last post, I posed the idea that we had GREAT things to look forward to from U2 in February - and was I correct! The U2 concerts in South Africa this past week were some of the most TRULY AMAZING concerts that I have ever heard or seen U2 do on the 360 tour, especially the 18 Feb. concert in Cape Town.

Maybe it was the fact that this concert was streamed live online for the whole world to hear that helped to make the Cape Town concert FEEL so special. I agree with those fans who think that EVERY U2 concert should be streamed live on the website for subscribers. It's a GREAT idea to win back some subscribers who have become disenchanted with the way that Live Nation runs the fansite and it shows U2 fans just how much the band & its management want to provide an extraordinary experience for them at the band's official website.

There were many special moments during the South African concerts. The appearances of Hugh Masekela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the Springbok Nude Girls and Amadou & Mariam gave the international U2 community a good introduction to the variety of African music today - an introduction that I hope U2 fans will continue to develope with these and other African musicians.

And then there was perhaps the strangest yet the most endearing introduction of the band by Bono before ISHFWILF in Cape Town when he introduced them as meerkats, lemurs & llamas and, in return, was quite appropriately introduced by Edge as a wildebeast!

But for me, perhaps the highlight of the Cape Town concert was when Bono publicly recognized an old ally of his in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa who was in attendance at the concert that night - Zackie Achmat.

For those who do not know who Zackie is, I'll post a link below where you can begin to find out more info on this TRUE HERO of the historic fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. Zackie actually won the public praise of Nelson Mandela for being willing to risk his own life to make sure that fellow South Africans had access to affordable antiretroviral drugs (ARV's)!

This recognition from the stage by Bono of an ICON of the struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa reminds me of when Bono recognized my longtime friend & African AIDS activist, Agnes Nyamayarwo of Uganda, from the stage TWICE during the 360 tour in the USA in October 2009.

Many U2 fans will remember Agnes as the African woman who spoke alongside Bono from 2002-2007, travelling around the world with him to spread awareness of the AIDS crisis in Africa amd mobilizing thousands of people to petition their governments to spend more money on stopping AIDS around the world.

Agnes was with Bono at the start of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), at the founding of the ONE Campaign & even appeared in the (RED) edition of Vanity Fair magazine several years ago.

When Bono recognized Agnes from the stage during the performance of "One" at the Raleigh and Dallas concerts, I was there in attendance with her both nights as was my friend, Sue. Agnes was in the USA at the request of the U2 Conference where she was a main presenter.

If you have ever wanted to see/hear Agnes speak or to ask her a question - you're in luck!

This Saturday, 26 February, Agnes and the HIV+ women with whom she works, the Mulago Positive Women's Network (MPWN) will be hosting a LIVE, INTERACTIVE online forum where they will talk about their lives and demonstrate how they make some of the various African craft items that they sell to make a modest living and support their families.

If you would like to be a part of this online forum on Saturday, 26 February, then all you'll need to do is to click on the link below and enter the forum as a guest. Just make sure that you have a headset & webcam to maximize your participation in this forum.
The forum is scheduled between 2pm - 4pm GMT (9:00am - 11:00 am EST). We hope to see you there.

And THANK YOU, BONO, for never forgetting who the REAL HEROES of the struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa truly are!

ONLY LOVE, debbie:)

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