Messages, songs for Madiba

2012-07-18 10:12

Johannesburg - South Africans on Wednesday sang happy birthday to their revered liberation hero Nelson Mandela, who turned 94.

People called in to radio stations and posted messages on social networking sites wishing the first black president of a democratic South Africa a happy day, which he would likely spend away from the spotlight with his close family and friends.

The ageing leader has grown frail and was hospitalised twice since early 2011. Relatives say his health is as good as can be expected for a man of his age.

July 18 is marked as International Nelson Mandela Day, a UN-backed event. People are asked to spend 67 minutes of their time on this day to helping their fellow people in honour of Mandela's 67 years of public service.

"There is no more fitting tribute to a man who has demonstrated to the world the extraordinary power of non-violence, of tolerance, and of unwavering service to our fellow men and women," US President Barack Obama said in a statement.

"Nelson Mandela's personal story is one of unbreakable will, unwavering integrity, and abiding humility," the US leader said, noting that his own family had been inspired by the freedom icon.

Alex Ferguson sings for Madiba

Former president Bill Clinton visited Madiba in his ancestral village of Qunu at the weekend, as part of a tour of southern Africa.

Alex Ferguson, who is also visiting the country with Manchester United, which is set to play a football match against Ajax Cape Town, appeared on national television to sing happy birthday and cut a cake.

Mandela published his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, in 1995. The book details his early life through his 27 years in prison, after the white-minority regime sentenced him to jail for his role in the struggle against apartheid.

He was released from prison in February 1990.

The liberation icon - whose name became the symbol of struggle in the final years of minority rule - was elected president of South Africa in 1994 in the first all-race vote, serving for just one five-year term before stepping down.

In the lead up to the transformation to democracy, Mandela led talks with the apartheid regime, insisting on making peace with his former jailers.

What are you doing for Mandela Day? Send us your stories

  • neil.vanheerden.39 - 2012-07-18 10:23

    Will be spending my 67 mins today in prayer and memory of the 3100+ farm murders in SA since '94.

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-07-18 10:36

      Why not get off your lazy ass and go help a family that was recently attacked? Easy to type, we all can, but not so easy practicing what one types

      neil.vanheerden.39 - 2012-07-18 10:42

      John: I have spent my fair share of time helping. Like you said, so much easier to type.

      neil.vanheerden.39 - 2012-07-18 10:58

      Jowza: You are entitled to your opinion as much as I am, frankly I could not care less what you think.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-18 10:59

      You 67 minutes will be well~spent if you also included farmworkers, even if that's in the last 2 seconds of your prayer

      neil.vanheerden.39 - 2012-07-18 11:00

      Clearly all the thumbs down is in support of Farm Murders.

      Malavi10 - 2012-07-18 11:38

      u can also spend 67mins and be thankful that man's leadership brought peace in 1993 when SA was in the brink of civil war.

      Malavi10 - 2012-07-18 11:38

      u can also spend 67mins and be thankful that man's leadership brought peace in 1993 when SA was in the brink of civil war.

      hayden.cajee - 2012-07-18 11:53

      @Neil, your loss is suppose to motivate you to prevent or improve our society, Remember th exact hurt you feel was felt by thousands of BLACK people, when their brothers, sisters, etc were murdered. What legacy will you leave behind?

      russellblack.cowan - 2012-07-18 11:59

      @neil.vanheerden.39. You typical arrogant person who clearly likes the sound of his own voice. Show a little respect for this great man. If it wasn't for this great man Mr Nelson Mandela, we could've had a civil war as he was so forgiving to his oppressors. Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

      sabongam - 2012-07-18 12:09

      Why the hell should you give him your 67 minutes? Because the NATS took away almost 30 blerrie years of his life under hard labour and he still came out with peace in his heart and preached a message of forgiveness. I wonder if you could do that. Clearly not, judging from your bitterness and hatred in your heart. It's so amazing that you still hold the grudge of losing your brother but when blacks do the same some white people say move on and forget the past. Double standards.Whites can bring up the past yet when blacks do it's a matter of playing the race card. Anyway moving on, Happy Birthday Tata, may you live even longer and God continue to bless you with great health, so that your enemies can witness His Greatness.

      neil.vanheerden.94 - 2012-07-18 14:54

      I could not care less.. I did not commit the murders, apartheid was long before my time but yet 18 years after apartheid I am still being punished by a bunch of cowards because my skin is the wrong color. @BEE DIAMOND: At least I got my job based on skills and Merritt, not because some crackpot decided to put something like BEE/AA in place.

  • sue.allan.102 - 2012-07-18 10:26

    The song that was played on tv last night sounded like a gospel song .....even the words this man a hero or is he God himself ? Admire him I do but I do not consider him God .

      jowza1 - 2012-07-18 10:35

      who said he is god

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-18 10:55

      You are sound deurmekaar Sue.

      mark.schulz.796 - 2012-07-18 12:36

      Next year we'll have our own version of the 'Arirang Games' in our Eternal Leader's honor. And a ten meter, bronze statue of him in front of the Union Buildings. It's coming..

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-07-18 10:26

    Can anybody imagine an "International Jacb Zuma Day"? Maybe 1st April? These sub-intelectual morons have basically undone all Mandela acheived and hoped.

  • Castiel - 2012-07-18 10:41

    Today for my 67 minutes I'm going to pay my exorbitant taxes. The same taxes I pay 24/7/365. The taxes that are supposed to go to feeding, educating and housing the poor.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-18 11:57

      You are a good upstanding citizen! Someone give this man a Bells :)

  • maureenuys - 2012-07-18 10:42

    Happy Birthday Madiba! A person who through his example of forgiveness , promotion of reconciliation and his humilty deserves every accolade he has been awarded. A man who understands and practices leadership and has dedicated his life (at great cost to himself) to the establishment of a democratic society is a great man and will go down in history as such.

  • - 2012-07-18 10:45

    Hbd TATA, U deserve all the wishes and praises, just wish if we could all respect your wishes, it would be a better place for all, thou u r not God but u r an inspiration to us all Thanks Madiba

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-07-18 10:51

    May your day be a wonderful one...we as South Africans owe you for the peaceful transition in 1994, which you played a huge roll in..THANK YOU. There have been times though I would have liked to see you call an Indaba with those ministers who have been corrupt...I also think Zuma needs some guidance from well as Malema....but you have remained quiet... Pity..these people would listen to I'm sure you don't approve of what happens at times.

  • latiemolatela - 2012-07-18 11:23

    Happy birtday tata.May c many more years to cum.i salute u sir.

  • steve.matsane - 2012-07-18 11:33

    He's still 40....with 54 years experience. HBD tata! I Wish all those in parliament could learn from You.

      Monny Ouma - 2012-07-18 11:43

      Happppppppy tata we love u not terreblanch

  • Sello PilaPila Mabebo - 2012-07-18 11:39

    Happy b day Tata Madiba o khole o khokhobe, i luv u.

  • Muffin_man_can - 2012-07-18 11:40

    I think it will be more appropriate to celebrate a Jesus day, He gave His life so we might obtain eternal life, instead we are praising a mere mortal, that allthough good hearted, also has his faults. Respect for Nelson Mandela but l won't bow down.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-18 11:53

      Ahem... did anyone say “bow down”?

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-07-18 12:20

      @Muffin_man_can when is the last time you saw jesus?

  • vsigaji - 2012-07-18 11:41

    happy birthday Tata

  • amechi.modebe - 2012-07-18 11:52

    My icon,my role mode,one of the most influential man of world.Happy Birthday MADIBA,on behalf of me and friend in nigeria wish once more happy birthday and many more years.

  • malusi.shumane.7 - 2012-07-18 12:24

    The editors for news24 are anti-blacks! Why the HELL would my comments be removed? They are puppets for Zille. Let repeat this: The most senior position whites will occupy in our politics is being a premier. DELETE this comment again.

  • guillermo.lapidus.7 - 2012-07-18 16:54

    I wish people will just take the day for what it is: the birthday of a great world leader. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADIBA! Stop posting messages about murders,race,BEE,colour,etc even if it's just for 67 minutes...

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