News / Africa

Mandela's Birthday Marked With Charitable Acts

South African artist John Adams works on a giant acrylic-on-canvas painting of Nelson Mandela in the driveway of his house in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, July 15, 2013.
South African artist John Adams works on a giant acrylic-on-canvas painting of Nelson Mandela in the driveway of his house in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, July 15, 2013.
VOA News

South Africans are marking the first Nelson Mandela Day since the anti-apartheid icon's death by performing acts of kindness.

Organizers urged the former president's supporters to spend 67 minutes helping others on Friday to mark Mandela's 67 years of public service.

Some people volunteered in orphanages while others distributed hand-made blankets to the less fortunate.

U.S. President Barack Obama remembered the late South African leader on the day that honors him, saying, "We may never see the likes of Madiba again, but we can honor and emulate him by taking time today, and all other days, to engage in acts of service."

Friday would have been Mandela's 96th birthday.

  • A woman walks past a mural with the face of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa, July 18, 2014.
  • A child from the nearby poverty-stricken Alexandra Township eats a lollipop on a visit to Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg, Friday, July 18, 2014.
  • Raindrops fall on the statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela outside parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, July 18, 2014.
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu, right, holds out his hand as he interacts with children during celebrations of former South African President Nelson Mandela's birthday in Cape Town, South Africa, July 18, 2014.
  • The face of former South African President Nelson Mandela is displayed as people paint during his birthday celebrations, in Cape Town, South Africa, July 18, 2014.

Granddaughter Ndileka Mandela said  Mandela was especially concerned about finding sustainable solutions to poverty in rural areas.

"Granddad said 'It's in your hands' and it's to, to do the don't have to do something very big. For me what is important is to do something that's more, that's sustainable. Because that was his dream," she said.

In November 2009, the United Nations declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela Day.

South African President Jacob Zuma has called on his country's citizens to honor Mandela this year by cleaning up their surroundings.  He said that working together to "build their beautiful country" is what Mr. Mandela  taught South Africans to do.   

Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison for his opposition to South Africa's racist apartheid regime.  

He was released in 1990 and was elected South Africa's first black president in the nation's first democratic, all-race elections.

He died last December, following several years of declining health.


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Comment Sorting
by: Jingoy Angeles from: Los Angeles
July 20, 2014 10:19 AM
Nelson Mandela was and will still be a figure of hope for all kinds of people

by: PhilH from: wisconsin
July 19, 2014 11:50 AM
and to honor his early years, free tire necklaces for those who disagree with him or he didnt like

by: Paul from: California
July 19, 2014 10:55 AM
As Jesus said, only God is good.
I choose to stay focused on God, and not man's efforts.

by: Sang Riel from: Canada
July 19, 2014 10:22 AM
I grow weary living in a world where heros can be made from terrorists, where jet liners can be shot down and the cowards responsible aren't man enough to admit the error , where men rape women and hang them dead in trees ,where people can buy guns and stroll down to the nearest school and pop thirty school kids. Who is going to stop this ? Our leaders ? Nope.sorry too busy power tripping...I wish the whole world would just turn on everyone running the show because quite frankly with the way its going now , might as well just burn it all to the ground and start over. The politicos are slowly killing us...Let's return the favor.

by: Ronnie Robinson from: US . Ohio
July 18, 2014 2:36 PM
What a difference one individual can do to make our lives so much better. On this day it's not hard at all to said thanks to someone I never meet and to all who Will continue the hard work necessary, for changes needed in our world.

by: Jsmith from: USA
July 18, 2014 1:44 PM
Free necklaces for everyone!

by: Anonymous from: lebanon
July 18, 2014 12:38 PM

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