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Jul 18, 12:02 PM EDT

South Africans remember Mandela on his birthday


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AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- South Africans marked Nelson Mandela's birthday on Friday with charitable acts in honor of the former president, whose death in December prompted a global outpouring of tributes.

People picked up litter, cooked at homes for the elderly and donated food, blankets and other basic necessities to the poor. The United Nations has declared July 18 to be Nelson Mandela International Day.

Organizers had urged people to perform acts of charity for 67 minutes, symbolizing the anti-apartheid leader's 67 years of public service. Graca Machel, Mandela's widow, joined volunteers who packed food parcels at a convention center in Johannesburg.

Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white minority rule and led a difficult transition to democracy, becoming president in all-race elections in 1994. He served one five-year term, evolving into a global statesman and pursuing charitable causes after that. He died Dec. 5 at the age of 95.

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