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Zuma urges South Africans to return Mandela's sacrifices


08:37, July 18, 2013

CAPE TOWN, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The best way to celebrate the Nelson Mandela International Day is to return the anti-apartheid icon's sacrifices and contributions, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

"Let us return Madiba's sacrifices and contributions through our own efforts to build a better society," Zuma said prior to massive celebrations to honor Mandela Day on July 18, which is Mandela's birthday.

Mandela, who turns 95 this year, will celebrate his birthday in a Pretoria hospital. He has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

Zuma "wishes all the people of South Africa and the international community a most productive, reconciliatory and reconstructive Nelson Mandela Day as the country prepares to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to nation-building activities tomorrow, 18 July," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

In 2009, the UN Assembly declared July 18 as the Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of Mandela's contributions to the building of a peaceful and just society.

"We declared this day in honor of Madiba (Mandela's clan name) to inspire all of us to take action personally to help change the world for the better and create a sustainable movement for good in South Africa and abroad," Zuma said.

"Tomorrow, on Madiba's 95th birthday, all our thoughts are focused on the rich legacy he has given us as South Africans and the world," said Zuma.

The theme for this special month is: "Take Action, Inspire Change. Make Every Day a Mandela Day."

On Mandela Day, individuals and organizations are encouraged to donate 67 minutes of their time to do good for the society to mark Mandela's 67 years of public service.

Mandela has remained in a critical but stable condition, according to the latest official update on his health last Thursday. Since then, the government has not said a word about Mandela's condition.

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