Mandela Day 2012

The UN played its part in helping the world pay tribute to Madiba on his 94th birthday.

Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebrations on 18 July 2012. Picture: Peter Morey

NEW YORK - The United Nations (UN) played its part in helping the world pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

There was a growing buzz at the UN headquarters in New York where an informal meeting, titled "Building a greater world under Madiba's vision", was held.

Speakers included Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the last chair of the UN special committee against apartheid.

The session will be followed by the US launch of the 46664 clothing line.

The range, created to raise funds for Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation, is expected to hit stores in 2013.


Planning Minister Trevor Manuel on Wednesday pleaded with Beacon Hill High School pupils to take pride in themselves and their surroundings.

He visited the school on Mandela Day while pupils repainted classrooms that were defaced by graffiti.

At the end of the school day, many learners left with paint on their uniform and hands.

During Manuel's brief appearance, he reminded learners that Madiba had a special relationship with the school.

It was one of the institutions he identified for upgrading in the late 1990s.

Performance at the school improved before dropping again.

Manuel said learners should strive to restore the school to its former glory.

Meanwhile, Mayor Patricia de Lille believes graffiti is just another way in which gang members recruit youngsters.

Earlier on Wednesday, she visited Kalksteenfontein in Bishop Lavis to clean up some walls.

The Cape Town mayor used the opportunity to get her hands dirty for Madiba's 94th birthday.

The mayor believes graffiti should not be taken at face value.

"Graffiti is a masked message from various drug lords and gangsters in particular areas. That's how our kids get drawn into drugs and gangsterism."

Struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada said Mandela would want the world to pay tribute to all of the heroes of South Africa's past.

He laid flowers at Joe Slovo's tombstone as part of Mandela Day celebrations.

"Today we are not talking about political party people. We are talking about heroes, irrespective of the political organisation they belonged to."

He also visited Zeph Mothopeng's grave, describing how he had been tortured while in detention.

Kathrada said visiting the grave site was an emotional experience for him.


Madiba celebrated his birthday in Qunu with his family and only a few people were allowed to see the former president.

Relatives from all over the country spend the day with him and those inside said it was a low-key affair.

A few locals from Qunu, Umtatha and even East London, stopped by to drop off bouquets of flowers for the national icon.

But guards said they could not allow anyone inside.

This did not stop locals in the village from celebrating by singing, dancing and sharing birthday cake.