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Madiba celebrated 91st among friends, family

by Proffesor Ndawonde
on 18 Jul 2009
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

While Madiba spent his 91st birthday at his home, he was definitely not alone with over 90 well-wishers including President Jacob Zuma and former Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda visiting him.

The elder statesman joined his guests in a special marquee erected in the garden of his Houghton, Johannesburg home.

Escorted by President Zuma, his wife Graca Machel, his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and his grandson Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, Madiba received a standing ovation from politicians who sang "Happy Birthday" in English and in Xhosa.

As Mr Mandela took his seat on a sofa the group also sang "For he's a jolly good fellow" and a freedom song "Nelson Mandela - there is no one like you".

After a speech by Mr Zwelivelile, and having had his praises sung by a traditional imbongi (meaning praise singer), the "birthday boy" listened to a speech by President Zuma who extolled his virtues as a political activist, freedom fighter, prisoner, president and pensioner.

President Zuma said it was a special privilege that Mr Mandela was still with us at his age.

Madiba blew out the ten gold candles on his cake which was shaped in the numbers 9 and 1 which had the words 'Long live Madiba' in chocolate icing below it.

He was given a piece of the cake by his eight-year-old great grandson Ziyanda Manaway before addressing the group and thanking them for the birthday visit.

"The thing that makes me very happy is the presence of the President and the leaders of this country," he said.

"I thank you very much, I am truly grateful." - BuaNews

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