Happy Birthday Tata!

A day of celebration around the world as Madiba turns 94.

Madiba at his homestead in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape before his 94th birthday. Picture: Lyoness.TV

JOHANNESBURG - Wednesday will be a day of celebrations in South Africa and around the world as Nelson Mandela turns 94.

The former statesman will celebrate the day with family and friends at his home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, while people around the world will do their 67 minutes of community service in honour of Madiba.

Former United States president Bill Clinton paid a surprise visit to Madiba in Qunu.

He said he was honoured to be Nelson Mandela's friend - a man who was willing to share his future, even with those who imprisoned him.

Clinton and his daughter Chelsea are in Qunu for the former presidents birthday.

There were sounds of jubilation in Qunu when Clinton handed over books at No Moscow Primary School.

He also planted a tree at a community garden as part of the Mandela Day celebrations.

Addressing villagers, Clinton honoured the former South African president.

"When I think about Mandela I think about someone committed to the future not the past, and the embodiment of the future are all these children here."

He said Madiba's willingness to share the future of this country, even with those who imprisoned him, contributed to his greatness.

Idols winner Elvis Blue sang a song in honour of the father of the nation, while Clinton sat on a podium surrounded by schoolchildren.

Clinton told the children that Madiba's vision was what made South Africa whole post apartheid.

"However much time he has on earth, I want it to be devoted to young peopleā€¦ They must develop their hearts and their minds and share their future".


There was little activity taking place in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday morning.

The fire smoke could be seen coming out from some of the homes in Mvezo, a sign that villagers were preparing to go to work this morning while only children could be seen making their way to school.

Mvezo prides itself as the birthplace of former president Nelson Mandela.

This is where Madiba learned to say his first words.

An event which will be attended by Madiba's grandson Mandla Mandela and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has been planned for Wednesday.


Meanwhile, people around the world will do their 67 minutes of community service in honour of Madiba on Tuesday.

Organisers said Mandela Day events will primarily focus on schools, care centres and public spaces.

Mandela Day coordinator Frank Meintjies said youths will clean-up parks, parliamentarians will volunteering in schools, and others would help build shelters for the homeless.

He encouraged South Africans to do something different from their ordinary lives.

"Step out of your comfort zone and go to an area you've never been to before to make a contribution."

Meintjies added that the initiative was proof that ordinary citizens could contribute positively to their society.


International Mandela Day is an initiative that was launched in 2009 to recognise Mandela's charitable nature and achievements during his 67 years of fighting against inequality.

People across the world are encouraged to spend 67 minutes doing good for those less fortunate.

Further afield, diplomats will gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the annual Nelson Mandela Commemoration Lecture.