Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

“He will eat the cake with his family (…) will be quiet day for him,” said Grace Machel for BBC, the wife of Nelson Mandela. She also said that the former South African president is doing very well.

In front of the residence of former South African head of state (1994-1999), dozens of people gathered early this morning, trying to see the “Madiba”, as South Africans call him, with great affection.

Besides his family, 100 young people from the villages where he grew up, Qunu and Mvezo, were invited to the anniversary of Nelson Mandela, who said on many occasions how much he had missed his children during the 27 years prison. They all sang the traditional “Happy Birthday” and then returned to their villages.

Today, the entire world celebrates the first Nelson Mandela International Day, after the UN decided in November 2009, paying tribute to each year, on July 18, the efforts of the South African militant for peace and freedom.

From a rally held in Madrid to a charity football tournament for Peace held in Darfur, many events are set to honor the leader of the anti-apartheid movement.

In South Africa, celebrities and civilians devote 67 minutes of their time – as a tribute to the number of years that Nelson Mandela took on the fight for equality – to provide various community work: renovating an orphanage, planting trees, donating school furniture and clothing and organizing reading sessions for children.

To celebrate this event, 30 individuals started in Johannesburg a motorcycle journey to arrive in Cape Town after six days, stopping on the way to participate in various community projects.

Actor Morgan Freeman, who played the Mandela film “Invictus”, directed by Clint Eastwood is one of those personalities, even though he himself will lead a motorcycle. This morning, Morgan Freeman participated in planning an AIDS medical center in town Khayelitsha, near Cape Town.

At Mvezo, native village of Nelson Mandela, the current South African President, Jacob Zuma, will perform various volunteer activities for 67 minutes, and will deliver a speech during the afternoon, in front of over 5,000 people.