A portrait with his cousin Bikitsha (right), dating from around 1941, when Mandela would have been about 23. (Courtesy of CNN)


Qunu, South Africa (CNN) — South Africans celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday Wednesday by participating in good deeds nationwide to honor the legacy of the famous statesman.

The frail icon has not appeared in public for years, but he is celebrated worldwide on his birthday for his role in reconciling a country torn apart by apartheid.

In South Africa, citizens performed at least 67 minutes of public service on his birthday, a reference to the number of years he devoted to helping others.

In Mandela’s childhood village of Qunu, relatives, including children and grandchildren, gathered to mark his birthday and perform community service at the local health centers.


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