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WATCH: South Africa Celebrates Mandela's 95th Birthday

Schoolchildren sing 'Happy Birthday' to former South African President Nelson Mandela at Phefeni High School, opposite Mandela's former home in Soweto Township on Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Christopher Furlong
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Schoolchildren sing 'Happy Birthday' to former South African President Nelson Mandela at Phefeni High School, opposite Mandela's former home in Soweto Township on Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It's a bittersweet day in South Africa today: Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who many consider the country's father, is celebrating his 95th birthday. But he is doing so from a hospital bed in Pretoria.

There is good news, however: As Mark reported yesterday, Mandela's daughter Zindzi says he's made "remarkable progress" and could be released from the hospital soon. The South African presidency released a statement Thursday saying Mandela was "steadily improving."

The BBC reports that across South Africa, Mandela was honored with songs, prayers and acts of service.

The AP has video of the scene:

NPR's Jason Beaubien hit the streets and asked South Africans what they'll remember of Mandela.

The New York Times did something similar. They asked South Africans what Mandela means to them:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Eyder Peralta is an international correspondent for NPR. He was named NPR's Mexico City correspondent in 2022. Before that, he was based in Cape Town, South Africa.
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