July 18, 2010 marks the 92nd birthday of Nelson Mandela, the reconciliation and peace icon of South Africa. After being imprisoned for 27 years, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. He served as the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 giving priority to reconciliation between the whites and blacks. Because of these acts, he was given a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday, US President Barack Obama greeted him saying: “On behalf of the United States, I wish Nelson Mandela a very happy 92nd birthday. We are grateful to continue to be blessed with his extraordinary vision, leadership, and spirit. And we strive to build upon his example of tolerance, compassion and reconciliation.” He also added that Sunday was the first annual Nelson Mandela International Day, as proclaimed by the United Nations.
Mandela was also instrumental in campaigning for South Africa to be the host country for this year’s FIFA World Cup 2010. Despite his failing health, Mandela was supposed to attend the World Cup 2010 opening but the death of his great-granddaughter in a car accident led him to cancel it. However, he managed to attend the closing ceremony which drew cheers and from all the viewers around the world.
Happy 92nd Birthday to Nelson Mandela and hopefully, your legacy of providing peace would remain for years to come.