Spice Girls eager to perform for Mandela's 90th


NEW YORK -- The Spice Girls would love to perform for former South African President Nelson Mandela, but said on Monday they had not yet been formally asked to be part of his planned 90th birthday celebrations in June.

During a backstage interview with Reuters before the group's sold-out New York concert, the five members of the British pop group -- Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton -- were enthusiastic about the idea.

Britain's Daily Mirror reported last week that Mandela was eager for the Spice Girls, who reunited late last year for a greatest hits album and world tour, to perform at a planned concert in London's Hyde Park.

"We're great friends of Mr. Mandela and we would love to perform for him again," said Chisholm, a.k.a. Sporty Spice.

The Spice Girls met Mandela in 1997 when the then-president invited them to his Pretoria residence for a chat and photos. They were in South Africa to perform in a Johannesburg charity concert.

The pop stars reportedly had to turn down an invitation to perform at Mandela's 89th birthday celebrations last year as Bunton was pregnant with her first child.