Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday was celebrated on 18 July 2011 – declared “Mandela Day” by the United Nations – with individuals and organisations volunteering their time to do good work in communities across the globe.
The great man, himself, celebrated his birthday with a family party on 17 July, at home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, with his wife Mrs Graca Machel and Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The gathering of about 50 people also included a smattering of close friends and relatives from neighbouring villages. Guests were welcomed by Mr Mandela’s grandson, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, who has assumed the title of traditional leader of Mvezo, Mr Mandela’s birth village, formerly held by Mr Mandela’s father.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Mandela’s 11 great-grandchildren, Hlanganani Mandela, 25, said although the great-grandchildren realised that none of them would be able to make the impact on the world that Mr Mandela had made, they were committed to working as a collective to advance his values and ideals.
Mr Mandela looked frail – he is 93-years-old – but in good health. He is said to particularly enjoy relaxing at home in Qunu, with the vista of the rolling hills of the rural Transkei of his childhood.
Earlier, a large Mandela family delegation contributed heartily to the spirit of volunteerism when they visited a children’s home in the area to help spruce it up. The following day, Mrs Machel was hard at it again, with volunteers from the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Nelson Mandela Museum, among others, planting a vegetable garden at the Qunu Multi-Purpose Centre.