Mandela Day: South Africans salute Mandela on his 95th birthday

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - Millions of South Africans are saluting the father of their nation, global giant Nelson Mendela, who marks his 95th birthday on Thursday (18 July) in a critical but stable condition at a Pretoria hospital.

Mandela's daughter Zindzi lifted the mood of the nation after announcing that her father is now making "dramatic" progress and that he could be going home soon.

The prisoner-turned-world statesman, who became a moral beacon for all mankind, was hospitalised five weeks ago with a recurring lung infection.

Hundreds of local and international reporters and photographers have remained camped outside the hospital while thousands of well-wishers have braved the cold to pay their respects.

And for all of South Africa which has prayed for Mandela, Thursday is a solemn celebration of the man who steered his homeland away from a full-blown race war.

The Nobel laureate’s love of children is well-documented, and, at exactly 8 a.m . (local time) on Thursday morning, millions of school children around South Africa sang Happy Birthday.

PANA reports that at the same time, all radio and television stations played a pre-recorded Happy Birthday song.

“The changes we enjoy today are the fruits of the toil of towering icons the stature of Nelson Mandela,” said Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.

Sello Hatang, Chief Executive Officer of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said the education if South Africa’s children has a special place in Mandela's heart “and is at the centre of our legacy work and mandate to contribute towards a sustainable future through the promotion of social justice. Initiatives such as these display a passionate wish to see his legacy being kept alive and made available to the world”.  

Meanwhile, Mandela’s birthday is also being commemorated around the world.

The theme for this year’s United Nations (UN) International Nelson Mandela Day is “Take action, inspire change".

The concept of Mandela Day began 2009 after the UN decided to commemorate the elder statesman’s birthday every year.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 18July2013

18 july 2013 08:13:36




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