South Africans celebrate Mandela’s birthday

South Africans today celebrated Nelson Mandela’s birthday by planting gardens, painting clinics and calling for unity.

Mandela, who turned 92, was spending the day with his family in Johannesburg. His wife went to an orphanage in Soweto to help plant a vegetable garden.

Graca Machel said today was a day for people to say: “I can extend my goodness to other people.”

Mandela Day, inaugurated last year and falling on the anti-apartheid leader’s birthday, was conceived as an international day devoted to public service.

National police commissioner Nathi Mthethwa said that spirit drew him to a Pretoria township where anti-foreigner violence broke out two years ago. He urged the community to be peaceful and unified.

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