1408043734billroedygallery09SABC1 is to screen a 60-minute special programme, Meeting Mandela: A Staying Alive Special, at 6.30pm today.

Produced by MTV Music Television, Meeting Mandela celebrates the life of humanitarian and former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela.

It premiered globally to a potential audience of a billion people this month, in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNAids, the World Bank, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Family Health International's YouthNet.

The special marks the debut of this year's Staying Alive HIV/Aids awareness campaign, as well as Mandela's 85th birthday.

Offering viewers a historical look at Mandela's life, the special will also profile young people from diverse backgrounds who travelled to Johannesburg to meet Mandela.

They discussed topics with Mandela such as HIV/Aids awareness, discrimination, war and more.

"With half of all new HIV infections among those under 25 and a vast array of complicated issues facing them, young people have more tough decisions to make in their lives today than at any other time in history," commented Mandela.

"I always look forward to meeting young people to talk about these important issues, as well as to discuss how to use the knowledge that history has given us as a guide on how to plan for the future."

"We are honoured to produce a special on Nelson Mandela, who is one of the world's most important humanitarians, in celebration of his 85th birthday and to launch this year's Staying Alive campaign," said Bill Roedy, president of MTV Networks International and ambassador, UNAids.

"MTV remains committed to using its airwaves to enable young people to express their opinions on issues that affect them most, and this special will put them face-to-face with one of the most important public figures in history.

"I challenge broadcasters from around the world to air our special on Nelson Mandela," said Roedy, "to get HIV/Aids awareness messages out to the widest possible audience.

"Through the media's continued commitment we can all make a major impact in the fight against HIV/Aids."