Nelson Mandela's Birthday Dinner

Mandela
ESSENCE.COM Jul, 16, 2009

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Last night a bevy of celebrities came out to support 46664 and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton and Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela, attended the Mandela Day Gala Dinner at Grand Central Terminal on July 15 in New York City.

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Though Mandela was not present at the birthday dinner, that didn’t keep stars like Alicia Keys from attending the affair.

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Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman gave a speech at the star-studded event.

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Film icon Spike Lee was in the house to salute the humanitarian at the special event.

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Musician Vusi Mahlasela treated the crowd to a special performance at the Mandela Day Gala Dinner.

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South African performer Loyisa honored Mandela in song at the gala dinner.

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Jonathan Butler, who was born in South Africa but has made a name for himself in the States, attended the dinner which marked Mandela’s birthday.

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Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela’s wife, and actress Alfre Woodard were at Grand Central Terminal in New York City to celebrate the 91-year-old former President of South Africa’s birthday.

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South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka attends the Mandela Day Gala Dinner. Chaka Chaka has known Mandela for more than 20 years and is currently one of the country’s most ardent activists.

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Model Keisha Whitaker attended the Mandela Day Gala Dinner. Her husband actor Forest Whitaker will be on hand this Saturday at a star-studded tribute concert in New York City.

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Entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who is the chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, wouldn’t miss this for the world.

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A number of musicians, including Mor Thiam and Akon, came out to show their support for Mandela Day and join the call for people to pledge 67 minutes of their time to make the world a better place.

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New York City is the center of Mandela Day celebrations this year with various people taking up the global call to create a better world through their individual contributions. Keynote speaker Bill Clinton spoke about the anti-apartheid hero who became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in May 1994.

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Mr. Mandela may not have been on hand, but the leader surely felt the love all the way from New York City to South Africa.

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The South African Theater group puts on part of a performance at the Mandela Day Gala Dinner.

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Mandela Day was created to inspire people to embrace Mandela’s values and make an imprint through service to their communities.

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