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Anti-Apartheid Icon Mandela Turns 95 on Thursday

  • VOA News

Children sing "Happy Birthday" in front of messages of support outside the hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated at, in Pretoria,July 17, 2013. Mandela turns 95 on July 18.

Children sing "Happy Birthday" in front of messages of support outside the hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated at, in Pretoria,July 17, 2013. Mandela turns 95 on July 18.

Thursday marks the 95th birthday of anti-apartheid icon and former South African president Nelson Mandela, who has been hospitalized for more than a month with a recurring lung infection.

South Africans have big celebrations planned for Mandela's birthday, which has been designated an international day of service.

On his birthday, known as "Mandela Day," people are asked to give 67 minutes of their time doing something charitable, or one minute for each year he dedicated to his struggle for social justice.

Mandela is being treated at a Pretoria hospital, where officials have described his condition as "critical but stable."

On Wednesday, his daughter, Zindzi Mandela, said he is making "remarkable progress" and may be going home "anytime soon."

She also said people were at one time preparing for the worst, but that her father continues to amaze. She said he is responding very well.

Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8, is revered in South Africa and beyond for his role in ending official racial discrimination and white minority rule. After spending 27 years in prison, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa's first black president the following year.
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