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Archive for Sunday, July 19, 2009

People do good deeds for Mandela birthday

July 19, 2009

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— Nelson Mandela’s fans celebrated the anti-apartheid icon’s 91st birthday Saturday by emulating him with good deeds, reading to the blind, distributing blankets to the homeless or refurbishing homes for AIDS orphans.

Mandela had called on people to spend time doing good Saturday, the first Mandela Day, which his charity foundations hope will be an annual event.

South Africans collected clothing for poor children, painted schools, planted trees near Mandela’s boyhood home in eastern South Africa, and renovated a building in downtown Johannesburg for people left homeless by a fire.

Mandela stepped down after serving one term as president — the first black South African to hold the post. Since 1999, he has devoted himself to such causes as fighting AIDS and poverty and championing the rights of children.

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