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South Africans celebrate Mandela's 94th birthday

(Xinhua)

08:30, July 19, 2012

CAPE TOWN, July 18 (Xinhua) -- South Africa on Wednesday observed its first democratically-elected president Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday by launching many meaningful events.

In his birthday wishes to Mandela, South African President Jacob Zuma called on South Africans to keep Mandela's legacy of compassion, unity and love.

"Madiba (Mandela is often known as Madiba in South Africa) has been leading from the front from the 1940s to 1994. After 1994 he led us of the path of unity, transparency and reconciliation," Zuma said.

"Government has committed itself to continuing Mandela's legacy and will continue the long walk to fight inequality, unemployment and poverty. We urge all our people to continue to live by the values Madiba lived by to make this country and the world a better place," Zuma said.

Nelson Mandela, with his term of president from 1994 to 1999 in South Africa, was born on July 18, 1918, turning 94 on Wednesday.

In November, 2009, the UN General Assembly declared July 18 annual Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of Mandela's commitment to building a democratic society that is united, non-racial and prosperous.

The South African government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi on Wednesday asked the people to use Mandela Day for the good for their community, country and the world.

"Madiba is very special to South Africa in many ways, having dedicated his entire adult life to the relentless fight for freedom, democracy, peace and stability in our country," Manyi said.

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