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Birthday song kicks off countdown to Mandela Day


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LAST UPDATED: 03:37 a.m. HST, Jun 18, 2012



JOHANNESBURG >> Nelson Mandela's office has released a video of South Africans singing "Happy Birthday" in an effort to motivate people around the world to salute the anti-apartheid icon ahead of his 94th birthday next month.

Mandela's grandson Luvuyo Mandela said today that he and his family will hand out blankets and plant trees on July 18, which was declared Mandela Day in 2009. People around the world are encouraged to devote some time to community service in his honor on the day.

A spokesman for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory said the video aims to mobilize people around the world to sing to Mandela on his birthday.

The Nobel peace laureate spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist rule. He became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term.






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