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Article updated: 7/10/2013 10:02 AM

Mandela foundation wants volunteers on 95th birthday

A group of gospel singers pay tribute outside the entrance to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is hoping that volunteers around the world will donate 67 minutes of their time when South Africa’s former president turns 95 next week.

A group of gospel singers pay tribute outside the entrance to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is hoping that volunteers around the world will donate 67 minutes of their time when South Africa's former president turns 95 next week.

 

Associated Press

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By Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- The Nelson Mandela Foundation is hoping that volunteers around the world donate just over an hour of their time when South Africa's former president turns 95 next week.

Mandela remained hospitalized Wednesday in critical but stable condition for a recurring lung infection. He was hospitalized June 8.

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Mandela's birthday is on July 18 and his foundation's Twitter feed is asking people to join in the volunteer-day initiative. The goal of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to "take action to help change the world for the better." The movement asks people to donate 67 minutes of their time in reflection of what the foundation says is the more than 67 years Mandela spent serving his community, his country and the world.

The foundation's Twitter feed often shares quotes from the man who spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule in South Africa.

One Mandela quote shared this week said: "Abject poverty is demeaning, is an assault on the dignity of those that suffer it. In the end it demeans us all."

South Africa has made great strides since its official policy of apartheid, a government policy that favored white South Africans. But great inequalities remain, fueling racial tension in the country.

"I would say what we're struggling with today is the gross inequalities that we've inherited that will take generations to overcome, and people are understandably resentful," Denis Goldberg, Mandela's friend who was jailed for two decades for fighting against apartheid said at an anniversary event this week.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma said last month that black South Africans continue to have less education and fewer skills than whites because of the apartheid era. As part of promoting national reconciliation, the implementation of black economic empowerment policies will continue, he said.

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