Mandela Turns 95; Said to Be Improving

World celebrates with service

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 18, 2013 3:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, and the anti-apartheid leader remains in the hospital—but South African President Jacob Zuma says his health is "steadily improving," the BBC reports. Mandela's daughter, Zindzi, echoed the sentiment, saying he was "making remarkable progress and we look forward to having him back home soon." Meanwhile, the world is marking Nelson Mandela International Day:

  • In South Africa, millions of children started the day by singing happy birthday to the leader. The country is calling on people to perform 67 minutes of good deeds in honor of Mandela's 67 years of public service; volunteers plan to work at schools, hospitals, and orphanages as well as feed those in need. Richard Branson is among those planning 67 minutes of service.
  • Twenty US cities are celebrating the day, Reuters reports; a giant painting of Mandela is up in Times Square, and volunteers plan to distribute South African oranges.
  • Melbourne, Australia, will hold concerts in the former president's honor.
  • President Obama offered a tribute, encouraging people to serve, Sky News reports: "Through our own lives, by heeding his example, we can honor the man who showed his own people—and the world—the path to justice, equality, and freedom."

Students at the Denver Primary School in Johannesburg, South Africa, pray for ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 95th birthday.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Candles are lighted for former South African president Nelson Mandela inside St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, July 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Zindzi Mandela arrives at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, July 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Indian students participate in a programme to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday in New Delhi, Thursday, July 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)
A portrait of Nelson Mandela is displayed on the windows of a building as lights inside the building reflect in downtown Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, July 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
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