Mandela celebrates 92nd birthday

19 July 2010

Surrounded by members of his family, Nelson Mandela celebrated his 92nd birthday at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg on Sunday.

Mandela started off his day by receiving visits from old friends, including former Zambian Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda. Various other invited guests brought him gifts and cards.

He was later serenaded by a large group of his grand-children and great-grandchildren, most of whom wore Nelson Mandela Day t-shirts to mark the first United Nations Nelson Mandela International Day. Many of Mandela’s family had been out volunteering at community projects before they arrived at his private birthday party.

After singing “Happy Birthday, dear granddad!” the children were joined in their applause by the man of the moment. After two of his youngest great-granddaughters tried unsuccessfully to blow out the candles themselves, they were helped by a group of older ones.

Mandela and his wife, Graça Machel, also celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary on Sunday. They were joined at the private celebration by his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Before the main party got under way in a marquee erected in the garden, prayers were said by various ministers of religion. The occasion also marked a commemoration of the passing away since the 1940s of various members of the family.

These included Zenani Mandela junior, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 13 on 11 June, 2010; Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe, with his first wife Evelyn Mase, who passed away in 1946 after an illness at the age of nine months; Mandela’s eldest son, Thembekile, 24, who was killed in a car accident on 13 July 1969; and his second son, Makgatho, 54, who died of complications of Aids on 6 January 2005.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation