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Archive for Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mandela beams at ‘Happy Birthday’

July 19, 2008

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— Nelson Mandela sat beaming in a yellow armchair, his legs propped up on a large stool and covered with a pale yellow blanket.

Ten grandchildren crowded around to serenade him with "Happy Birthday" and then smothered him with hugs and kisses.

The anti-apartheid icon celebrated his 90th birthday Friday with his family at his home in rural southeastern South Africa and the whole village turned out.

Elders in traditional dress came to pay their respects, sheep were trucked into the property and a troupe of bare-breasted young women sang and danced in preparation for Mandela's lunch with 500 dignitaries today.

He still found time to settle down to read a pile of newspapers, to keep up with local and international affairs.

Sounding and looking vigorous, Mandela told a small group of reporters he was fortunate to have reached 90, crediting his "behavior" for his longevity.

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