Birthday wishes were pouring in for former president Nelson Mandela as he turned 95 on Thursday, with a tangible sense of celebration in the country as millions of pupils sang “Happy Birthday Madiba” and South Africans from all walks of life geared up to pay tribute to their national treasure.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day, in honour of Mandela’s lifelong commitment to human rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation.
South Africans and people around the world have been called on to observe the day by giving at least 67 minutes of their time to help create a better tomorrow for all.
Family with Madiba in hospital
Mandela was expected to spend his birthday with his family at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where he was admitted on 8 June for a recurring lung infection.
Members of the public have been visiting the hospital daily to drop off cards, flowers and decorations wishing the former statesmen well.