Nelson Mandela Celebrates 95th Birthday in Hospital
For more than a month, former South African president Nelson Mandela has been in critical but stable condition in a Pretoria hospital. Today, July 18, as he celebrates his 95th birthday, there are reports that the anti-apartheid icon is recovering.
Earlier this week, Mandela was watching television with headphones on, his daughter Zindzi said in an interview with British Sky News.
“I should think he will be going home any time soon,” she said.
Although Mandela is still unable to speak, she said he was regaining strength and energy.
“He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand,” she said. “He responds with his eyes and his hands.”
Nelson Mandela International Day
“Mr. Mandela’s birthday is also Nelson Mandela International Day, declared by the United Nations to recognize the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to reconciliation.
The former statesman is revered across the world for his role in ending apartheid in South Africa. He became the first black president in the country’s first all-race elections in 1994.
BBC reports that the South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) said that on this Mandela Day homage was being paid to 95 years of “life well-lived,’ dedicated to the liberation of South Africans and people all over the world.”
Pre-birthday wishes stream in for Madiba
Among the many millions sending birthday wishes to Madiba, Nelson Mandela’s tribal name, are those from U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
The American president and first lady said they were deeply moved by their visit to South Africa’s Robben Island prison where Mandela was imprisoned. They say Mandela’s commitment to equality, dignity and reconciliation should be a beacon for future generations.
As reported by news.com.au:
“The Obamas say the world can honor Mandela by heeding his example and serving others.
The couple met with Mandela’s family last month while in South Africa and visited Robben Island, where the anti-apartheid figure spent 18 years as a political prisoner.
The president and first lady say they were deeply moved by the visit to the prison. They say Mandela’s commitment to equality, dignity and reconciliation should be a beacon for future generations.”
Happy birthday Nelson Mandela!