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South Africa Celebrates First Nelson Mandela Day Since His Death

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:02:00 +0000

UN Photo(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- South Africa celebrated the first Mandela Day -- celebrated on the birthday of former President Nelson Mandela -- since the leader's death on Friday, spending time working on community projects.

Mandela would have turned 96 on Friday. He died in December 2013 after spending months in the hospital receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection. Nelson Mandela International Day was declared five years ago by the United Nations, which urged people around the world to spend 67 minutes volunteering, in honor of Mandela's 67 years of activism for South Africa's freedom.

"This year, we have decided to honour Madiba's memory through a massive 'Operation Clean Up for Madiba' campaign," South African President Jacob Zuma said, using Mandela's clan name. "We should demonstrate our love for our beautiful country by cleaning our surroundings, together."

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