Nelson Mandela Day: AU wishes Mandela happy, healthy 95th birthday

The African Union (AU) Thursday joined the rest of the world in wishing former South African President Nelson Mandela ‘a happy and healthy’ 95th birthday,which coincides with the annual commemoration of the Nelson Mandela International Day.

“I extend my heartfelt wishes and prayers as well as (those of the) African Union to President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 95th birthday, and the fifth annual Nelson Mandela International Day,’ African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said in a statement issued here Thursday.

“The values of solidarity, humanity, reconciliation and service to the ordinary people that Madiba practiced and contributed to throughout his life are the very foundation of the shared values the African Union is promoting, and which guides it as it celebrates the OAU/AU 50 years Anniversary and develops Africa Agenda 63 towards an Africa that is prosperous and at peace with itself and a major player in global affairs,’ she said.

In the statement, obtained by PANA here, Dr Dlamini Zuma called on the entire continent to continue to pray for the speed recovery of the anti-apartheid hero “who is a source of inspiration and hope to millions across the Africa and across the world.”

PANA reports that as the world celebrates the day, Mandela remains in stable but critical condition in a Pretoria hospital, where he has been receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection since 8 June.

Mandela’s daughter Zindzi gave South Africans a reason to cheer on Thursday by saying her father’s health had made a ‘remarkable’ progress.

At the core of the celebration of the Nelson Mandela International Day is the call on all to volunteer 67 minutes to help others, which could include volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a child, providing food for the homeless, or any other community service.

The “67-minutes” campaign is based on people devoting one minute of their time for every year that Mr. Mandela devoted to public service, as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically-elected President of post-apartheid South Africa.