Saturday, July 18, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Grandpa Mandela!

Stay healthy and happy, and enjoy as many years as you desire. Love, Madison

Nelson Mandela celebrates his 91st birthday


Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, celebrated his 91st birthday on Saturday with the launch of a special day for good deeds to be done in his name.

Surrounded by family and anti-apartheid stalwarts at his home in Johannesburg, the increasingly frail elder statesman was showered with messages of goodwill from world leaders to ordinary South Africans.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led the international plaudits by describing Mandela as "a living embodiment of the highest values of the United Nations.

"His commitment to a democratic, multi-racial South Africa, his steadfast pursuit of justice, his willingness to reconcile with those who persecuted him most -- these are just some of the hallmarks of a remarkable man," Ban said.

The charitable foundation of the former South African leader called on people around the world to do good deeds on Saturday as it launched an official day in Mandela's honour.

"Mandela Day is an annual celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and a global call to action for people to recognize their individual power to make an imprint and change the world around them," his foundation said.

The initiative received backing from senior UN figures.

"I warmly welcome the global campaign to recognize the birthday of Nelson Mandela, July 18, as an annual opportunity to celebrate this great man and the values and principles that he has come personify over the past seven decades," said president of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann.

"I hope that Mandela Day will eventually be celebrated as a United Nations international day to serve as an inspiration, in particularly to our young people, and as invitation to join forces in the ever-more complex and urgent campaigns against poverty, racism, ignorance and violence." [AFP story continues here]
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