Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Nelson Mandela is 92. Happy Birthday


Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the President on Nelson Mandela International Day

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. I also join the American people, the South African people, the United Nations, and the world in celebrating the first annual Nelson Mandela International Day. I encourage us all to heed the call to engage in some form of service to others, in honor of the 67 years of sacrifice and service Madiba gave to us. We strive to follow his example of what it means to truly give back to our communities, our nations, and our world.



I just wanted to personally say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Nelson Mandella! I first heard about him during the Aparthied movement and I followed what was going on as much as possible. Because of this movement, I even went to see the movie "Sarahfina" which is a movie about the Africans and what they endure. I commend you Nelson Mandella for what you've accomplished and I am glad I lived to see your release from jail.

I wish Mandiba a Happy Birthday !!!!
I´m a teacher of English in Argentina and I always make my students read Nelson Mandela 's biography.
Nobody can deny he is a heroe we must look up and try to imitate, at least some of his values...

South Africa is lucky in that it was able to replace its inherent turmoil and divisions under an elected leader acceptable to all parties.

Israel now faces a similar challenge. Demographics makes it clear that the state must adapt or perish. With in a few generations, the majority of Israel's voting residents will be Palestinians.

This means that if democracy is sustained, Israel will have to learn to live under a Palestinian prime minister. This may shock them now but there are good precedents to chow that it could be beneficial.

South Africa is not perfect but it is developing without civil war that is a danger in Israel; atrocities such as the massive assault on Gaza are not tolerable.

The United States has elected a black president, and Mexico long ago elected as president an Indian. He served Mexico very well, broke the power of the Church of Rome which had owned one third of all land, and Benito Juarez qualifies as a national hero and a model for the world.

Los Angeles elected as mayor a Latin American, who has won the respect of all. Bear in mind that the city is larger than many countries so Mayor Villaragoisa represnts many people of many ethnicities.

I am South African and I love and admire Mandela very much. It's just sad that he is being used more and more as a brand to promote initiatives and programmes.

Although I believe in community service and giving to those less fortunate, I really don't like the idea of Mandela Day. I remember when his birthday used to be about celebration. Now there is the added requirement that we have to fulfil for this humble man who has lived outside of the public eye for many years. Along with the few who will devote 67 minutes to this initiative, there will be many who will not. Either out of time constraints, forgetfulness or pure apathy many will be have been left feeling slightly guilty at the end of the day. A day which used to just be about celebrating a birthday and remembering that the day marks the entry into the world of our first black president, has become tainted with expectation and requirements.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 18, 2010 8:40 AM.

Michelle Obama, July 19, 20, 21, 23, 2010 was the previous entry in this blog.

Abortion rights activists shocked, mad at Obama White House over abortion coverage in new health care law is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.