Significant events launched to commemorate Mandela in South Africa

Updated: 2013-08-18 03:24


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JOHANNESBURG -- The South Africans on Saturday launched twin important events to commemorate the 95-year-old anti- apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, who remains hospitalized in Pretoria.

As the ailing Mandela has received his treatment with the serious lung infection for more than two months at the Mediclinic Heart hospital in Pretoria, the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture was hosted by the University of South Africa (UNISA) and the Nelson Mandela Center of Memory in the same city on Saturday.

Significant events launched to commemorate Mandela in South Africa


The UNISA is the largest university on the African continent, with a total number of more than 300,000 students.

Speaking on the sidelines of the lecture at the campus of the UNISA in Pretoria, the South African famous academic Motsoko Pheko said that he has always been a great admirer of Mandela's exemplary leadership style, wishing Mandela a speedy recovery.

Mandela was rushed to the hospital in Pretoria from his home in Johannesburg with the serious recurring lung infection on June.8.

Many prominent figures attended the lecture, including Mandela' s wife Graca Machel and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

In delivering the lecture focusing on "building social cohesion", the Sudanese philanthropist Mo Ibrahim said,"You are advanced economically, industrially. We admire your struggle for freedom."

He urged South Africa to contribute more for Africa, saying, "South Africa needs to step up and play a better role in working with Africa."

In Johannesburg on the same day, many residents were celebrating Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day in memory of him.

The event featured a Bafana Bafana (nick name of the South African national football  team) match against Burkina Faso as well as the rugby Springboks against Atgentina's Puma, ending with a concert performed by local artists.

Speaking at the launch of the event, South African Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula said,"the day is a celebration of the contribution Mandela made through sports, especially during his term as the president of the country."

"It is in the spirit of this that all proceeds from the event will be in aid of the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital project," added the minister.

Acknowledging Mandela's fragile health, many attendees at the event wished him well.

This is the third time for Mandela to be admitted to hospital this year, but  it is his longest stay in hospital this year.

On March 27, he was hospitalized after doctors diagnosed him of having pneumonia.

Mandela suffered from tuberculosis when he was incarcerated for 27 years before the apartheid ended in 1994.

He was the first democratically-elected president in South Africa, having an honor of the state father in the country.