Cape Town, June 19 (IANS) The UN and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) Wednesday launched the Mandela International Day, even as the anti-apartheid icon spent his 12th day in hospital for a recurring lung problem.
Wednesday’s event marked the official launch of programmes to celebrate Mandela’s 95th birthday July 18, Xinhua reported.
July 18 was endorsed in 2009 by the UN General Assembly as Nelson Mandela International Day.
“The establishment of the Nelson Mandela International Day followed Mr. Mandela’s call to the world June 27, 2008 that we can all make a difference by doing good in our communities,” the NMCM said in a statement.
To honour the day, South Africans and people around the globe have been urged to volunteer 67 minutes of their time for community service.
Mandela has been in hospital since June 8 for a recurring lung problem. The latest news about Mandela’s health came from his daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini who said Monday that Mandela “is doing very well”.
No official update has been issued since Sunday, when President Jacob Zuma said the Nobel laureate “continues to get better” although his condition “remains serious”.
As founding member of the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 27 years in prison.
Mandela had developed tuberculosis while in prison during the apartheid.
He has been in and out of hospital several times since December, raising concern about his frail health.