World celebrates with Mandela at 94

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - World statesman and former South African President Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 94th birthday at his childhood home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape Wednesday

At 8am local time Wednesday, an estimated 12 million children sang "Happy Birthday Tata Madiba" (Mandela’s clan name) in unison. The song included the line: “We love you father," and
numerous radio stations broadcast the singing live.

The Proudly South African on Wednesday adopted an underprivileged school in the Tsietsi informal settlement on the East Rand to honour Mandela.

“We're going to spend most of the day at the school and will be returning again and again to continue our projects long after Mandela Day," said Proudly South African Chief Executive Officer Leslie Sedibe.

On the eve of his birthday, former US President Bill Clinton visited Mandela at his home.  

The anti-apartheid icon is unlikely to make any public appearance - his last public appearance was at the final of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in Johannesburg - but rather to celebrate quietly with his family.

However, he is expecting a number of visitors during the course of the day and security is tight in the area.

Meanwhile, a group of South Africans are climbing the highest mountain in the UK – Snowdonia in Wales – to light a candle marking Mandela’s birthday.

And the Tour de France will start its Wednesday stage with an acknowledgement of Mandela’s  birthday.

On Wednesday morning in the small town of Pau at the start of the day’s stage, a large banner reading “Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela” was held up by children from the local school.

To mark the spcial occasion, the science world has also added an unusual tribute to the long list of accolades bestowed on Mandela, naming a prehistoric woodpecker – the Australopicus nelsonmandelai - after him.

He has already had his name conferred on a species of spider, a nuclear particle, a tree and several sub-groups of flower.  

The woodpecker species remains were unearthed at the Langebaanweg fossil site near Cape Town and they mark the oldest type ever found in Africa.

Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years by the apartheid government, served as the country’s first democratically-elected leader from 1994 to 1999.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 18June2012

18 july 2012 08:36:29




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