Mandela's Birthday Wish: Help the Poor

South African legend celebrates 90th, calls on rich to do more
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2008 12:06 PM CDT
Mandela's Birthday Wish: Help the Poor
A giant birthday card stands next to a sculpture of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg Friday July 18, 2008. The car is addressed to Madiba an affectionate name give to Mandela meaning father.    (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

(Newser) – Nelson Mandela turned 90 today, and he used the occasion to talk to reporters about the plight of South Africa’s poor, the BBC reports. “If you are poor, you are not likely to live long,” he said. “There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate.”

Mandela officially retired from public life in 2004 and has since championed a number of causes, including poverty relief. His official birthday party will take place tomorrow in his home village of Qunu, where three cows will be slaughtered for the festivities. Celebrations have been going on abroad for weeks, including a June concert in London. (Read more Nelson Mandela stories.)

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