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World marks first "Nelson Mandela International Day" on July 18‎

07-18-2010 14:31 BJT

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July the 18th is former South African leader Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday. The United Nations has set the date as Nelson Mandela International Day, a tribute to the anti-apartheid leader's moral leadership and lifelong commitment to fighting racial oppression and promoting peace. This year the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has issued a message, calling on people to focus on the cause of humanity.

Across South Africa, people are planning events to mark Mandela Day.

A group of African National Congress volunteers descended on a children's shelter in Johannesburg on Friday, to give the classrooms a facelift.

Jackson Mthembu, ANC National Spokesman, said, "And this is our request and our appeal to humanity, wherever you find yourself, just use 67 minutes for those who are worse off than yourselves. And indeed, we think that Madiba has shown us, because he didn't use 67 minutes, he used 67 years to do his best for humanity."

In this photo supplied by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, former South African president Nelson Mandela is surrounded by children, with his grandson Mandla Mandela, back 3rd from right, at his home in Johannesburg Saturday July 17, 2010. Mandela celebrates his 92nd birthday tomorrow.(AP Photo/Debbie Yazbek-Nelson Mandela Foundation)
In this photo supplied by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, former
South African president Nelson Mandela is surrounded by children, 
with his grandson Mandla Mandela, back 3rd from right, at his home 
in Johannesburg Saturday July 17, 2010. Mandela celebrates his 92nd
birthday tomorrow.(AP Photo/Debbie Yazbek-Nelson Mandela Foundation)

67 minutes represent the 67 years Mandela served his country and the world, both in prison and as president of South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation this year is asking people to "give only 67 minutes of your time to change the world."

In a film released by the foundation earlier this week, Mandela was shown smiling and chatting with The Elders, a group of former world leaders who have become the global ambassadors for Mandela and his foundation.

Nelson Mandela led the fight against apartheid in South Africa as head of the African National Congress. He served 27 years in prison after being convicted of sabotage and other crimes but was freed in 1990. He became South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994.

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