Nelson Mandela is spending his 95th birthday in hospital in Pretoria, as events take place around the world and in South Africa in his honour. The former president and anti-apartheid leader has been critically ill with a recurring lung infection since 8 June.
South African President Jacob Zuma, who visited Mr Mandela in hospital, said he was “encouraged” by his progress. South Africans have been urged to mark Mr Mandela’s 67 years of public service with 67 minutes of charitable acts.
“When I visited him today… I was able to say ‘happy birthday’ and he was able to smile,” Mr Zuma said in a statement.
“Mandela’s struggle for freedom and justice in our country and his values of promoting a fair, just and equitable world continues to inspire and motivate us,” he told a visiting EU delegation.Mr Mandela’s birthday is also Nelson Mandela International Day, a day declared by the UN as a way to recognise the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to reconciliation.
The former statesman is revered across the world for his role in ending apartheid in South Africa. He went on to become the first black president in the country’s first multi-racial elections in 1994.