South Africans celebrate Mandela's 95th birthday

South Africans celebrate Mandela
# 18 July 2013 21:47 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. South Africans across the country converged at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, celebrating Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday on Thursday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

July 18 every year is the Mandela Day, with the global commemoration to be launched in honor of the anti-apartheid icon.

South African Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile came here to pay homage to the hospitalized Mandela.

Addressing journalists at the hospital, Mashatile said: "We are here to say a big happy birthday to Mandela. We would like to say you get well soon."

"We come here to tell him that we have carried forward his work of doing 67 minutes to the communities, and promise that we will continue where he has left," said the official.

During the Mandela Day people would dedicate 67 minutes of their time to working for the community like Mandela did.

Mandela spent 67 years fighting for social justice and human rights.

"We are celebrating the values like respect, humility of loving others which Mandela has taught us," the minister said.

Several hundred Gauteng traffic police cadets performed their drills outside the hospital gate in honor of Mandela.

The Gauteng traffic police official Raymond Masango told Xinhua: "We are paying our respect and honor to the father of our nation Nelson Mandela."

"We say happy birthday to Mandela. We thank him for freeing us from the minority-dominated rule," said the official.

Masango told Xinhua that his department has sent police to paint schools in Johannesburg and they also made some donations to various schools in the city.

The South African national soccer team captain Itumeleng Khune joined the Mandela's 95th birthday celebration.

"We respect him for what he has done for our beautiful country South Africa," Khune told Xinhua.

During the apartheid era, black people were limited from participating in international sports events. When South Africa became independent in 1994, the ban was lifted.

Khune, Mashatile and the African National Congress (ANC) members sang the happy birthday song as cutting the birthday cake with Mandela's friend and jail mate Ahmed Kathrada.

"Mandela is somebody who stands for humility, unity and reconciliation. We should move forward as a united South Africa," Kathrada told Xinhua.

"He is a friend, comrade, and brother, we should never allow Mandela's legacy to disappear," said Kathrada.

Various branches of the ANC expressed their wishes for Mandela' s birthday, while pupils and students in Pretoria showed their love for Mandela at the hospital.

The college student Lehlogonolo Modiba said: "We thank Mandela for standing for South African school children to get education."

There was a hive of activities with the hospital roads full of the joyful people.

Some brought red balloons, while others carried cards with Mandela's pictures.