Tebogo Monama pics Siyabonga Africa

Tebogo Monama pics Siyabonga Africa

The countdown to Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday celebrations has begun in earnest.

South Africa's first democratically elected president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate was born July 18 1918.

The celebrations were announced by Mandela's various charities at the Victory Theatre in Houghton, Johannesburg, yesterday.

Achmat Dangor of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said: "This year's birthday celebrations will be a celebration of ideas."

He says the foundation will host an exhibition called Parenting a Nation: Walter and Albertina Sisulu at the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa on March 12. It will be opened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The sixth annual Nelson Mandela lecture will be delivered by the first woman head of state in Africa, Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto.

Previous speakers include former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, South African President Thabo Mbeki and former United States president Bill Clinton.

Chantal Cuddumbey of the 46664 campaign says this year's concert will be held at Hyde Park, London, "to celebrate Mandela's leadership on an international scale".

In July 46664 will also launch limited edition silver, gold and platinum bangles for a special fundraising event in London.

The Nelson Mandela Institute's Kimberley Porteus said: "The foundation was launched last year and is based in Fort Hare because we realised that we are not yet giving quality education to our children."

Under the banner of Justice in Education in Our Lifetime, they will launch a series of public dialogue platforms inspired by Mandela's commitment to public education.