x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Millions celebrate Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday

Nearly 12 million school children across South Africa have kicked off celebrations marking the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela, the country's deeply loved anti-apartheid icon, with resounding choruses of Happy Birthday.

South African schoolchildren get ready to sing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela at a school in Soweto, Johannesburg.
South African schoolchildren get ready to sing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela at a school in Soweto, Johannesburg.

JOHANNESBURG // Nearly 12 million school children across South Africa have kicked off celebrations marking the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela, the country's deeply loved anti-apartheid icon, with resounding choruses of Happy Birthday.

School assemblies began today with birthday wishes for Mr Mandela who is expected to spend the day privately at his home in the south eastern province with his family.

Tributes to Mr Mandela were pouring in: US President Barack Obama said Mr Mandela "has changed the arc of history, transforming his country, the continent and the world".

Communities in South Africa and around the world will dedicate 67 minutes of the day to charity work and projects for the needy to mark his 67 years in activism.

South African churchmen and politicians urged people across the country "to make every day a Mandela Day".