SA prepares for Mandela’s 95th birthday

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – South Africa is preparing for the biggest birthday celebrations in its history, as ailing global icon Nelson Mandela, who has been fighting for his life at a Pretoria hospital, turns 95 Thursday.

Special events will be held throughout the country and around the world to mark the day.

South African Premier Soccer League team Supersport began the celebrations in Pretoria on Sunday by dedicating its 2-0 victory over English giant Manchester City to Mandela.

"For us it was about playing for the greatest man that walked on this earth, that is Nelson Mandela,” Supersport coach Cavin Johnson told reporters.

The pre-season Nelson Mandela Football Invitational match attracted a capacity crowd.

Former President Thabo Mbeki also lifted the mood of the nation this weekend by announcing that Mandela, who is being treated for a lung infection, could be discharged soon to recuperate at home.

Also, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory kicked off the Mandela's birthday celebrating activities with a visit to the Bertrams Junior School in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Sello Hatang, Chief Executive Officer of the centre, urged all South Africans to keep Mandela's spirit of helping other people alive.

"One gift one can give him is to educate children and improve the quality of education, seeing children getting the education they need," Hatang said.

President Jacob Zuma will mark Nelson Mandela Day by officially handing over houses to a poor white community in Pretoria.

Cabinet has designated the theme of Mandela Day 2013 as "Take action; inspire change; make every day a Mandela Day," with a focus on food security, shelter and literacy.

President Zuma first visited the informal settlement in 2008 and again in 2010 to witness first hand the difficulties experienced by the poor white households and to assist in finding solutions to their plight within the framework of existing government assets to policies and programmes.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 15July2013

15 july 2013 07:56:21

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