Birthday tributes pour in for Nelson Mandela at 90

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Tributes are flooding in from around the world for world statesman Nelson Mandela who turned 90 Friday.
The birthday celebrations began a month ago at a concert in London which helped to support his 46664 AIDS campaign.
Mandela, who attended the event, received massive applause from an emotional cro wd.
Just last weekend, some of the world's top soccer players marked the occasion wi th a charity match at Munich's Allianz Arena.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, in his tribute, said: "I will never forget the spec ial day of 15 May 2004 when you, my dear friend, came to Switzerland, to show yo u r commitment to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"I am still touched by your words right after the 2010 World Cup was awarded to South Africa, when you held the World Cup trophy and said that you felt like a b o y of 15.
" African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said Mandela ha d spent the better part of his years leading the ANC "tirelessly and selflessly l eading the people of this country in pursuit of freedom.
" Mantashe said a special birthday party would be held 2 August at the Loftus Vers feld Stadium in Pretoria, where local artists will pay tribute to Mandela for hi s contribution to the liberation struggle.
Veteran politician Helen Suzman said Mandela's 90th birthday was both a poignant moment in history and a time to reflect on current political trends in South Africa.
"We celebrate Madiba's crowning achievements, but simultaneously have to ask our selves as a country what we intend to do with his legacy.
"Mandela himself in recent months has asked tough questions of the new leadershi p group and, in the wake of the spate of violent attacks on African migrants and South Africans alike, called for a renewed commitment to unity on Youth Day," Su z man said.
Mandela will host a private birthday party for 500 guests at his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape Saturday.

18 july 2008 15:42:00

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