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Madiba celebrates at home

Security is tight outside the Mandela home, with police guarding the front gates.

Former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea meet Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel in Qunu. Picture: Mbuso Mandela via Twitter

QUNU - Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 94th birthday at home with his family in the Eastern Cape.

It is quiet outside Madiba's homestead in Qunu, with only a few people allowed to see the former president.

Security is tight, with police guarding the front gates behind a six foot wall.

Relatives from all over the country have come to spend the day with him, but those inside say it is low-key event.

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

But guards said they cannot allow anyone inside.

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

'CHAMPION OF RECONCILIATION'

Madiba's grandson Mandla Mandela on Wednesday said current leaders and the country's youth need to learn from the Mandela's life by focusing on a united future.

He believes this is key to move South Africa forward.

The Mvezo chief spoke briefly to Eyewitness News at a local school in Qunu, where celebrations are underway to mark Madiba's birthday.

"He was a champion of reconciliation and nation building and today we are becoming a destructive community and society.

"We should look back to those lessons and ensure that we stand united."

On Tuesday, former United States President Bill Clinton arrived in Qunu with his daughter, Chelsea, to wish Madiba well.

He donated books to a local primary school.

Meanwhile, 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.