MAIL & GUARDIAN (South Africa), SKY NEWS (UK)
JOHANNESBURG - The world is celebrating a very special Mandela Day on Thursday, as the ailing Apartheid icon spends his 95th birthday in a Pretoria hospital, slowly recovering from a recurring lung infection.
"Madiba Nelson Mandela's nickname remains in hospital in Pretoria but his doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving," the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.
Every year on July 18, South Africans honor the former president’s 67 years of public service by spending 67 minutes of their time to nation-building and charitable acts.
Celebrations started with school children singing happy birthday to the Nobel Prize winner, and will go on with people “handing out school uniforms, textbooks and stationery, refurbishing classrooms and biking for charity”, the country's daily Mail & Guardian writes.
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will also take part in the festivities, delivering government housing to poor people in Danville, Pretoria.
Wishing Mandela a happy birthday, Zuma said: "We are proud to call this international icon our own as South Africans and wish him good health."
Events are also organized in the rest of the world: Three weeks after American President Barack Obama visited South Africa and paid tribute to Nelson Mandela’s legacy, New York’s Times Square features a giant portrait of Nelson Mandela painted by Paul Blomkamp.
In a recorded message, British magnate Richard Branson also vowed to give “67 minutes to make the world a better place, one small step at a time,"
In Manila, capital of the Philippines, 50 abandoned street children will get a television studio tour and see performances by local artists, the Globe & Mail reports.
Two days ago Zindzi Mandela, Madiba’s daughter, told Sky News her father was making "remarkable" progress in hospital, raising hope in a country that has been praying for his spiritual leader’s recovery for a month and a half.