festivities to mark Mandela's 95th birthday
Media PRETORIA—Global celebrations
and charity events will mark Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday as the
former South African president and anti-apartheid icon is in Pretoria
Volunteers will spend 67 minutes on hundreds of community upliftment projects—a minute for every year of his activism.
Mandela was born in the month of July 18, 1918.
"I will also be giving my 67 minutes to make the world a better
place, one small step at a time," AFP quoted British business magnate
Richard Branson as saying.
The 94-year-old African hero was transferred to a hospital in
Pretoria city in the northern province of Gauteng on June 8 as his lung
infection deteriorated.Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner.
On Thursday, children in schools around South Africa will start their classes singing "Happy Birthday" to the former statesman.
The Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge will be inaugurated at the icon's
birth village, Mvezo, in the rural Eastern Cape Province on Thursday. A science-specialization high school bearing his name is also scheduled to be opened.
Meanwhile in the United States, various activities are planned in 17 cities on Thursday.
The anti-apartheid hero suffered from respiratory disease during 27
years in prison. He was released in 1990 and then he made peacemaking
efforts in the country. He was elected as president in 1994.
The former South African president has received more than 250 awards
over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. In recent
years, Mandela's health problems have worried his supporters.