Mandela Day celebrations kick-off

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????JOHANNESBURG – Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa says although his grandfather is old, he is a fighter.

Zondwa was speaking at the kick-off of Mandela Day celebrations at the Bertrams Junior School in Johannesburg earlier on Sunday.

His grandfather is entering his sixth week in the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

“He’s still recovering in hospital. His medical team is doing the best they can. We are just hoping for a speedy recovery and we are keeping him in our prayers. Our grandfather is old but we know that he is a fighter and we are hoping for the best.”

Lead SA, together with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Saheti School put on a special programme at the small inner city school to celebrate Madiba’s legacy and life.

The celebration also marked the 95th birthday of the school.

Special guests at the event included Deputy Minister of Education, Enver Surtee, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy, Sello Hatang from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Marilyn Ramos and 92-year-old Sam Oken who is a former pupil at Bertrams.

Hatang noted that the one thing South Africa could give Madiba to celebrate his birthday is a solution to the problems plaguing the education system.

MEC Creecy agreed saying Mandela has taught South Africa important lessons.

“There are two important things the great hero of our nation has taught us. Firstly, giving and serving are better than receiving. Secondly, putting the education of the youth first is the number one priority of this country.”

Zondwa urged South Africans to use Mandela Day as an opportunity to give back to their own communities.

Mandela Day celebrations are expected to be held across the world this coming Thursday.

Meanwhile, social activist and renowned poet Mzwakhe Mbuli paid tribute to the ailing statesman, hailing him as a human treasure.

Mbuli recited a special poem he had written in Mandela’s honour at the Naledi community hall in Soweto on Sunday where a funeral service was being held for the reburial of four Umkhonto we Sizwe soldiers who died in clashes with apartheid security forces 24 years ago.


Former President Thabo Mbeki said on Saturday that he believes Mandela’s doctors will soon be sending the ailing statesman home to recuperate.

Mbeki was speaking at a Memorial Lecture for former African National Congress (ANC) President Zaccheus Mahabane.

He said he knows Madiba’s doctors, and they are doing an excellent job.

According to the Presidency’s last update, Mandela continues to respond to treatment but his condition still remains critical.

Mandela’s wife Graça Machel on Friday told the public that she feels less anxious about her husband’s health than she did a week ago.

(Edited by Gia Kaplan)

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