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Monday
Jul182011

Nelson Mandela Celebrates 93rd Birthday in South Africa

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- As Nelson Mandela turns 93 in South Africa Monday, his foundation is calling on people from around the world to commemorate Nelson Mandela Day by devoting 67 minutes of their time to community service.

That time is representative of the 67 years the former South African president has devoted to public service in his country and abroad.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, along with the South African government, also mobilized a nationwide campaign to have the entire nation sing "Happy Birthday" to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

On Monday morning, a special version of the song was sung to Mandela by an estimated 12 million public school children.  The song was simultaneously broadcast across all of South Africa's 18 radio and three television stations, marking the first time since Mandela's release from prison 21 years ago that all of the nation's media aired a program at the same time.

The foundation said it would look at submitting the event to the Guinness Book of World Records for a song simultaneously sung by the most people in the world.  It is not yet known if the target of 12.4 million singers was reached to set the new record.

Madiba, as Mandela is affectionately known as in South Africa, will spend his birthday with his family in his childhood village of Qunu.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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