Former South African President Nelson Mandela & Wife Graca Machel
Originally uploaded by panafnewswire.
17 July 2006
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the African National Congress, on behalf of the entire leadership and membership of the ANC, extended heartiest congratulations and best wishes to President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 88th birthday.
In a message on the eve of Nelson Mandela's 88th birthday on 18 July 2006, the NWC said:
"Dear Cde Madiba,
"The African National Congress, the democratic movement and the people of South Africa salute you on the occasion of your 88th birthday.
"As we mark the achievement of this milestone in your life, we celebrate together the extraordinary contribution that you have made, and continue to make, to the realisation of the goal of a better life for all our people.
"We continue to draw inspiration and courage from your leadership and from your unwavering commitment to the ideals of our movement and to the cause of our people. We seek always to emulate the humility, selflessness and service which you - like so many of our heroes and heroines - have embodied throughout your life of struggle.
"We hope that you may celebrate this birthday and may enjoy your much earned retirement secure in the knowledge that we will not stumble or falter in our efforts to build a South Africa which truly belongs to all.
"Happy Birthday Madiba, and many more."
The ANC has set up a facility on its website for members of the public to send birthday greetings to Madiba online. This facility, which will be active for the rest of the week, can be found at: http://www.anc.org.za
African National Congress
National Working Committee
PO Box 61884
17 July 2006
More information: Smuts Ngonyama 082 569 2061
Monday July 17, 11:44 PM
Cuba's Castro sends Mandela 88th birthday cigars
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Nelson Mandela said on Monday he "never imagined" reaching the age of 88 as he received one of his first birthday presents -- a shipment of rum and cigars from Cuban President Fidel Castro.
As well wishes poured in ahead of the anti-apartheid icon's birthday
on Tuesday, Mandela held a private party with the staff of his
foundation and blew out candles on a giant birthday cake.
"In my younger days I never imagined that such an occasion would
occur," a smiling Mandela said, reminiscing that a boyhood spent
engaged in traditional stick fighting could have shortened his life
"If you look at my body you will see a lot of marks that were caused
by fighting with sticks. And I never thought I would abandon that,"
Mandela said, showing off a scar on his leg.
Mandela's appearances have become increasingly rare after his
announcement in 2004 that he was retiring from public life, and aides say he plans to spend his birthday on Tuesday in private with family.
But the Nobel Peace laureate still grabs chances to promote his main causes, which include Africa's fight against HIV/AIDS and the need to increase educational opportunities for children.
"Today we want children who are educated, because if you have no
education you can never lead," Mandela said on Monday, adding that he was gratified by the response his pleas for more help with schools had received.
"When I came out of jail I came to a new South Africa," said Mandela,
who walked free in 1990 after some 27 years spent in apartheid
prisons. "When I went to jail nobody was interested in educating
Mandela's spokeswoman, Zelda La Grange, said the man affectionately known as "Madiba" around South Africa was in fine shape and looking forward to his birthday.
"He's doing very, very well," La Grange told the SABC public
broadcaster. "He regularly goes for medical check-ups ... we are very
happy that he is in good spirits and good health on his 88th
La Grange said presents for Mandela were beginning to arrive from
around the world, including a pair of hand-made sheepskin slippers
from village women in South Africa's Eastern Cape province and the
special birthday shipment from Cuba's Castro.
"The president kept his promise and sent the rum and cigars," La
Grange said of Castro. Mandela, however, is a committed anti-smoker and not known as a drinker.