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World celebrates International Mandela Day as Nelson turns 94 today


July 18, 2012 - Johannesburg, South Africa

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has turned 94 today. People across South Africa were celebrating the International Mandela Day. Students at a local school in Qunu, the home town of anti-apartheid icon, sang and stood in line forming the number 94.

Nelson Mandela is affectionately called Madiba by South Africans. The people of the country are gearing up to do 67 minutes of community work. Mandela has devoted himself to public service for 67 years. Mandela himself confined to his house and is no longer seen in public anymore. He however receives guests at his home village of Qunu. Mandela is the first black president of South Africa.

World leaders including American President Barack Obama, former US President Bill Clinton sent their good wishes to Nelson Mandela. Barack Obama said, "[Mandela] has changed the arc of history, transforming his country, the continent and the world". Mandela's friend Ahmed Kathrada in a public lecture marking the birthday of Mandela said, "You can be rich but if you don't have dignity you are a second-class citizen". Manchester United Football Manager Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated the birthday of Mandela by singing happy birthday and cutting a cake iced with the image of the team's yellow and red badge.

Mandela has spent 27 years in prison under the apartheid regime and was released on February 11, 1990. Mandela later won the country's first democratic elections in 1994. He was also the oldest President of South Africa when he took office at age of 75. The United Nations declared July 18 International Mandela Day.

Andhra News

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