Mandela the family man at 93
Tuesday 19 July 2011
The former South African President Nelson Mandela spent his 93rd birthday with friends and relatives in his rural hometown Monday, as South Africans paid tribute to the anti-apartheid icon through song and community service projects.
Millions of South African schoolchildren began their day by singing a special version of "Happy Birthday" To Mandela, leading worldwide chorus of birthday wishes.
US President Barack Obama called Mandela "a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation."
South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, also paid a visit to Mandela in his home village of Qunu, some 600 miles south of Johannesburg. Zuma spent more than two hours with the former president, before leaving with members of the Mandela family, including the icon's former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
"I came to spend time with the Mandela family, to rejoice with them, but also to eat cake. There was a huge cake," Zuma said with a smile.
"Mandela is absolutely in good spirits," he said.
Photos released of Mandela showed the 93-year-old smiling broadly while sitting in a yellow fabric arm chair surrounded by relatives.
People around the world were asked to mark his birthday by giving 67 minutes of their time to work in their local community — one minute for every year of Mandela's public service.
He became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in prison for his fight against racist apartheid rule, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
Nazly Mayet, a Johannesburg mother of four, brought her children to a local community hall afterschool to play with disadvantaged children from nearby shelters.
"Being South African means volunteering your time on Mandela Day," she said.
Mandela is "the person that represents our freedom, opportunities for everyone ... He seems quite fragile, but his spirit will live forever."
Mandela's public appearances have become increasingly rare, though he did appear at the closing ceremony of the World Cup one year ago.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Israel-Gaza conflict: The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The missiles were tragically real
Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
Syria conflict: Syrian and Turkish Kurds unite to battle Isis threat - ‘We shoot them like sheep, but next day double the number return’
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...
£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...