Destiny's Child beauty Beyonce Knowles is to host a one-off hour long MTV show celebrating civil rights icon Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday.

MEETING MANDELA: A STAYING ALIVE SPECIAL will air on 18 July (03) and will feature the former South African President tackling controversial youth topics ranging from HIV/ AIDS awareness, to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the oppressive military regime in Burma.

Mandela explains, "Young people face so many difficult decisions to make in life today. It is important to talk openly about subjects like HIV/ AIDS, war, political leadership and religion so that young people can make informed decisions about these issues, and to understand that they have the most vital role to play in helping to shape the future.

"It has been a pleasure meeting the young people participating in MTV's programme because, ultimately, it is their lives and futures we are all celebrating."

Hostess Beyonce adds, "Nelson Mandela is one of the most important figures in history and I am incredibly excited to host this special on MTV to celebrate his extraordinary life.

"I hope audiences around the world are touched by the young people who travelled so far to meet with Mr Mandela to share their incredible stories of hope and compassion."

01/07/2003 21:06