Mon, July 18, 2011
World > Africa

Mandela Day honored around the globe

2011-07-18 14:31:03 GMT2011-07-18 22:31:03(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Former President Nelson Mandela prepares for his 93rd birthday with family members at his home in Qunu in this handout photo released by the Mandela family July 17, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]

Former President Nelson Mandela prepares for his 93rd birthday with family members at his home in Qunu in this handout photo released by the Mandela family July 17, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

JOHANNESBURG - In Nelson Mandela's 93 years birthday, a lot of best wishes poured in from around the globe for one of the world's most loved men.

As Nelson Mandela spent his birthday in his home village of Qunu in the country's Eastern Cape Province, South Africans celebrated his birthday by singing and doing charitable works.

Earlier in the morning, thousands of South African school children joined in singing a special "Happy Birthday Madiba" for the elderly statesman.

While concerns were raised earlier this year over Mandela's health, he was reportedly in good spirits on Monday.

President Jacob Zuma, who was meeting with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday morning, was set to visit Mandela on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile tributes and well wishes poured in from around the world.

"As the people of the world celebrate Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday on July 18, Madiba continues to be a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation. On behalf of the people of the United States, we congratulate Nelson Mandela, and honor his vision for a better world," said President of the United States Barack Obama in a statement.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) was one of many organizations sending him well wishes. Helen Zille, DA leader said, "The most significant honor we can pay this great man on his birthday is to work towards his vision of a better life for all South Africans, to build on his dream, and to vigilantly and consistently protect the Constitution which he called a 'sacred covenant'."

In November 2009 the United Nations declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day and last year it was marked with acts of good works in communities throughout the world.

This coincides with ordinary South Africans who do individual and collective acts of service.

Mandela Day is an outreach event which hopes to encourage South Africans to spend 67 minutes making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.

"Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life making South Africa a better place. We are asking ordinary South Africans to spend just 67 minutes one day a year to make a difference in someone else's life," Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said on Sunday.

"We want people to go beyond only doing good on one day- it doesn't matter when you do your 67 minutes and certainly, we would hope people would do more than just that," Hatang added.

On Sunday, young and old followed this year's theme of "Take Action, Inspire Change, Make Every Day a Mandela Day". Hundreds of people met at a park at in Sandton, Johannesburg to go out to various needy charities in the area.

In Alexandra near the sandton business centre of Johannesburg, volunteers painted the walls of the Alexandra Kopane School of Education Trust library.

A Johannesburg resident told Xinhua on Monday that he had done his 67 minutes of good by visiting an orphanage in the township of Soweto. "We as a company decided to throw the children a party. It might be something small- but if we all do a little, it makes a big difference," he said.

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