Bill Clinton looked delighted to be in Nelson Mandela’s company after paying him a visit on the eve of his 94th birthday today. The former South African President and peace icon Nelson Mandela is looking good for his age. The foundation named for Mandela is celebrating the day, now known as Nelson Mandela International Day, by calling on individuals, communities and organizations around the world to pay tribute. It asks that people devote 67 minutes of time toward community service. Sixty-seven represents the 67 years that Mandela gave to the struggle to end apartheid in his homeland and promote social justice around the world. The United Nations declared July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009.
Mandela became an international icon of peace and justice while serving out a life sentence in prison for his anti-apartheid activism. He was released in 1990 after 27 years behind bars. In 1994, Mandela was elected to the South African presidency and became his country’s first black president. A year earlier, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor he shared with F.W. DeKlerk, the last apartheid-era president of South Africa. Mandela, or “Madiba,” as he is called, retired from office in 1999.
In 2004, at the age of 85, Mandela announced he would be retiring from public life, only making rare appearances on occasion.