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Mandela turns 95, ‘making dramatic progress’
July 18, 2013, 5:05 am

Mandela's struggle has symbolized the development of a new South Africa [Getty Images]

Mandela’s struggle has symbolised the development of a new South Africa [Getty Images]

Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid icon and South Africa’s first black president turned 95 on July 18, also marked as Nelson Mandela International Day.

Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory has asked people to celebrate Madiba’s birthday by doing 67 minutes of charity work to honour the 67 years of his public life.

“We are united in admiration for a giant of our times,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday.

His daughter said yesterday that Mandela is making “dramatic” progress and “might be going home soon”.

Mandela is spending his 95th birthday in the Pretoria Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where he has been hospitalised since June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

“I visited him yesterday (Tuesday) and he was watching television with headphones,” said Zindzi in an interview with a British network.

“He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand… He responds with his eyes and his hands,” she said.

She added that Madiba was gaining “energy and strength”.

“Your name is inseparably linked with an entire epoch of Africa’s modern history that heralded the building of the new and democratic Republic of South Africa,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message congratulating Mandela on his 95th birthday.

According to the latest official update released last Thursday, Mandela was still in a critical but stable condition.

Mandela has been hospitalised four times since December last year.

Source: Agencies