South African leader Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday Thursday, with tributes from around the world but also from young people in South African who credit his leadership with their ability to have a successful life. School children at Piet van Vuuren Primary School in the working class neighborhood of Brixton, praised “Tata Madiba,” a term of affection and respect often used to describe Mandela.
Mandela, who was hospitalized June 8 with a lung infection, was expected to spend his birthday with his family at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria. Members of the public have been visiting the hospital daily to drop off cards, flowers and decorations wishing the former statesmen well.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day, in honor of Mandela’s lifelong commitment to human rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation. As part of that celebration, people all over the world have been called on to observe the day by giving at least 67 minutes of their time to help create a hopeful future for everyone.
Click here for the New York Times video on the impact Nelson Mandela has had in young people’s lives.