BuaNews (Tshwane)

South Africa: Thousands Gather in Mvezo to Celebrate Mandela's Birthday

Pretoria — Thousands of people converged in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape to celebrate former president Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday on Sunday.

Kings, political leaders and ambassadors conveyed their birthday messages to Mandela. President Jacob Zuma is expected to deliver the keynote address.

Earlier in the week, Zuma called on South Africans to emulate Nelson Mandela's life by using their energies to change the world for better, on Sunday.

"We once again call on all sectors of our society to dedicate 67 minutes of their time helping the needy, poor and vulnerable members of our communities," said Zuma.

The former president will celebrate his 92nd birthday on Sunday under this year's theme of "Make everyday a Nelson Mandela Day."

The day is a day of public service when the public are encouraged to do something good for at least 67 minutes in honour of the 67 years that Madiba dedicated to the public service.

Zuma said Madiba's 67 years of uninterrupted and selfless service to the people of South Africa and the world culminated in the birth of a new South Africa, united in diversity.

"None have brought the nation away from the abyss and held the social cohesion of his people so dear like Madiba.

"He made reconciliation, reconstruction and development the hallmarks of his administration, and for this "we will honour Madiba by hosting a number of activities. The government and the people of South Africa will continue to honour his legacy and to promote the values he cherishes," said President Zuma.

Meanwhile, birthday messages have started pouring in for the lovable old man. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the world community wishing Madiba a happy 92nd birthday.

"I am honoured and humbled to call president Mandela my friend. Like millions of his admirers around the world, I am deeply moved by his generosity of spirit and unfailing courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles," Hillary said in a birthday message.

Observing that Nelson Mandela was a hero to people of all backgrounds and experience who strive for freedom and progress, she said: "His story is filled with an amazing strength and integrity of spirit."

There is no one more deserving of this unprecedented international recognition, Hillary said.

While people will be out doing good in celebration of his birthday, he will spend the day with family at his Houghton. School children from across the provinces will via link up sing happy birthday to the former president.

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