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Happy 92nd Birthday, Nelson Mandela

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Former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela celebrates his 92nd birthday today. Madiba, as he is affectionately known, will be spending the day with his family in Johannesburg, South Africa. His wife, Graca Machel tells the Associated Press that although her husband is not in perfect health, "his spirit is strong as ever." South Africans are celebrating the icon by dedicating 67 minutes of service in honor of the 67 years Madiba has spent fighting against racism and poverty. President Obama wished Mandela a happy birthday through a statement from the White House and encouraged all to heed the call to service. "We are grateful to continue to be blessed with his extraordinary vision, leadership, and spirit. And we strive to build upon his example of tolerance, compassion and reconciliation," said the president. "We strive to follow his example of what it means to truly give back to our communities, our nations, and our world." Born July 18th, 1918 in the Eastern Cape (a region in South Africa), the son of a royal chief, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, was groomed to assume office as paramount chief of the Thembuland dynasty. The young Mandela resisted a traditional route of service and chose to instead to help Black South Afrcans by becoming a lawyer. He opened a law firm with anti-apartheid activist Oliver Tambo and was among a growing cadre of Black lawyers who fought against the apartheid regime. Madiba would later join the African National Congress and lead its armed faction, known as Umkhonto we Sizwe. In 1964 he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for treason. He served 27 years in prison before being released in 1990. He was elected South Africa's first Black president in 1994. Happy Birthday, Madiba. Send you birthday wishes here...
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