A special "Happy Birthday" song for South African leader Nelson Mandela ahead of his 94th birthday next month has been released to encourage people across the globe to salute the anti-apartheid hero.
"We are not only appealing to millions of people around the world to do 67 minutes of community service on July 18 - but also to show how much we love Madiba (Mandela's pet name) by singing a very special Happy Birthday song to him at 8 am on July 18," said Yusuf Abramjee of Lead SA, an organisation aimed at bettering the lives of all South Africans through community service.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has released the song that aims to mobilise people across the globe to sing to Mandela on his birthday. "The countdown to International Mandela Day on July 18 has started - there is exactly one month to go," said Abramjee.
"We are exploring the possibility of breaking a social media world record. We want to mobilise the South Africans and indeed the world to sing and pledge their 67 minutes on Mandela Day," Abramjee said. The Ministry of Education has lent its support to get more than 12 million pupils to sing the song, while hundreds of corporates will also do so with their staff.
Sportsmen will join spectators at major matches on the day, including at rugby international and football teams when they take on visitors Manchester United from the UK on the day as well. July 18 was declared Mandela Day in 2009 to honour the Nobel peace laureate, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist rule before becoming South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994. Since then, people have been asked to spend 67 minutes doing some kind of community service on the day.
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