Nelson Mandela, 94, is said to be spending a “quiet” birthday with his family in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, reports the BBC.
As millions of admirers around the world are celebrating the former South African president, his granddaughter Ndileka Mandela told Sowetan Live that the family would honor him with a special lunch.
“The big lunch will be at 4 p.m. where we will present him with a cake. Our 67 minutes is a way of giving back to him, and that is our birthday gift to him,” she said.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also paid tribute to Mandela with this official statement:
“On behalf of the people of the United States, we would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 94th birthday and the fourth annual Nelson Mandela International Day.
Mandela’s extraordinary life and steadfast commitment to the principles of democracy and reconciliation continues to be a beacon for people of all backgrounds who strive for dignity, justice, and freedom.
Nelson Mandela’s personal story is one of unbreakable will, unwavering integrity, and abiding humility. On a personal note, our family has been inspired by Madiba’s example, and has deeply appreciated the time we have spent with him, and his wisdom, grace and generosity of spirit.
By any measure, Nelson Mandela has changed the arc of history, transforming his country, continent, and the world.
In 2009, the United States joined 192 United Nations member states in the creation of Nelson Mandela International Day.
On this important occasion, we honor Madiba’s commitment to service and the betterment of our communities.
There is no more fitting tribute to a man who has demonstrated to the world the extraordinary power of non-violence, of tolerance, and of unwavering service to our fellow men and women.”
Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, met with Mandela on Tuesday after opening a new library for the No-Moscow Primary School in Qunu.
“When I think about Mandela I always think about someone committed to the future,” Clinton shared.