Mandela's 94th birthday brings joy to village
MVEZO, South Africa - Agence France-Presse
A mural celebrating Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday is seen a a wall near his old house in Alex township, Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 July 2012. EPA photo
Villagers in Nelson Mandela's birthplace of Mvezo were on Wednesday showered with gifts to mark the icon's 94th birthday, in a day dedicated to charity work and giving.
Chief Mandla Mandela, the family's head, led a delegation that planted trees at schools and donated wheelchairs to the village's only clinic in the impoverished Eastern Cape region.
"I am humbled by the work that has been done here with the people and different organisations in changing the lives of the people during my grandfather's birthday," he said.
Nelson Mandela has asked the public to perform 67 minutes of charity work as his birthday gift, each minute representing a year he spent in active politics.
The chief said said his grandfather was "relaxing at home and doing fine" at his residence in the village of Qunu, near Mvezo, where the revered statesman grew up and currently resides.
"This day always brings joy to us. It is important, it reminds us of the importance of the great man who is still with us," said Nokusa Linda, a patient at Mvezo clinic.
"We say long live Mandela," she added.
Mandela's birthday was in 2009 recognised by the United Nations as the International Mandela Day, aimed at getting people all over the world to volunteer for good causes.
His granddaughter Tukwini Mandela told CNN from the family compound that he was his old self and making jokes.
"He had his breakfast, he always has his breakfast late in the day. He looked really really really good," she told the news network.
"Generally, he's looking good and he's joking, he's his old self".