Mandela turns 95 in hospital
Nelson Mandela is spending his 95th birthday in hospital in Pretoria. People throughout South Africa have been carrying out events in his honour and are being encouraged to partake in 67 minutes of charitable deeds in order to mark the 67 years of public service given to the country by the anti-apartheid leader.
Mr Mandela’s birthday is also “Nelson Mandela International Day”, so named by the UN in order to pay respect to the former president and Nobel Prize winner and all that he contributed towards reconciliation and ending apartheid.
The governing African National Congress (ANC) stated that this year’s Mandela day homage was being paid to Mr Mandela’s 95 years of “life well lived” in dedication to the freedom of South Africans and other people around the world.
Many charitable activities and happy celebrations marked the day, with school children across South Africa singing a synchronized happy birthday song to Mr Mandela. Volunteers have been spending an individual 67 minutes each on various charitable deeds such as cleaning hospitals, renovating orphanages and schools and distributing food to the poor.
All over the world events are also taking place to honour Mr Mandela, with concerts occurring in Melbourne later in the week and a large image of a Nelson Mandela painting created by South African artist Paul Blomkamp being displayed in New York’s Times Square.
The celebrations come at a time when Mandela is in hospital due to the recurring lung infection, which led to his admission to hospital on June 8th.
President Jacob Zuma has reportedly visited the anti-apartheid leader, releasing a statement saying: “We thank all our people for supporting Madiba throughout the hospitalisation with undying love and compassion”.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela spoke to a local radio station and said that Mr Mandela’s 95th birthday was “a gift not only to the family but to the nation”.
Family members of the former president have expressed optimism regarding his condition; with third wife Graca Machel saying that she felt “less anxious” about his health as he was still responding well to treatment.