July 18th, 2012
03:49 AM ET

Public service marks Mandela's birthday

South Africans celebrated Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday Wednesday by participating in good deeds nationwide to honor the legacy of the famous statesman.

The frail icon has not appeared in public for years, but he is celebrated worldwide on his birthday for his role in reconciling a country torn apart by apartheid.

In South Africa, citizens perform at least 67 minutes of public service on his birthday, a reference to the number of years he devoted to helping others.

In Mandela's childhood village of Qunu, festivities started early.

On the eve of his birthday Tuesday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, visited Mandela in the small southeastern village where he grew up and spends most of his time.

Clinton, whose presidential term coincided with Mandela's, hailed him as a "wonderful friend" and planted a tree in his honor during the visit.

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Filed under: World
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. IDF

    A very happy & healthy 94th-Birthday to Nelson Mandela – May you live too 125 !!

    July 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. james ainoris

    I am curious into why America hasnt been given much credit for changing the horrors of south africa ? We stood stefast with Mandella for positive change. We boycotted DeBeers mining (diamonds and gold obtained through slavery and death camps) how ever Canada and other so called "liberalish" countiries who often critcize America or Israel gladly did buisness with South African racists... Although I like Canada and admire its people and culture...I have friends that are Indigenous Indians from Canada and they told me how badly are treated even today! At least America admitted its wrongs and tries to help today! So before you pick on someone make sure your house is clean....the haves vs the have nots...

    July 18, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Happy Brithday, Mr. Mandela!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. andrea jackson

    cause that money never really ":ALL" gets there, it's called skimming the books...and it is done all the time, in organized crime, and our governments dealings...and don't you think that I am just a nut pot...you better believe it, why do you think that Republicans thrive in war time.....think for a minute if you take you eyes away from you stupid phones

    July 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlee

      Who are you talking to, andrea jackson?

      July 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |