Cape Town/Johannesburg: South Africans are preparing to celebrate the 95th birthday of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma said.

In the latest official update on Mandela's condition, Zuma said the Nobel laureate "is still critical but stable" in a Pretoria hospital where he was admitted on June 8.

"We remind all South Africans to begin planning for Madiba's birthday on the 18th of July. We must all be able to do something good for humanity on this day, in tribute to our former President," Zuma said.

The President thanked all South Africans for keeping Mandela and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

On Saturday, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu said Mandela was reciprocating. "We are pleased with the progress Madiba is making. We love him dearly and don't want to let him go," he said.

Govt calls for keeping Mandela's legacy alive

The South African government has called on all people in the country to keep Nelson Mandela's legacy alive as the world celebrates the anti-apartheid icon's 95th birthday on July 18.

July 18 was declared the Nelson Mandela International Day in 2010 by the UN in honour of Mandela's dedication to the national reconciliation and freedom.

"Madiba has made an indelible mark on our society, having overseen the transition from apartheid to a society built on the pillars of democracy and freedom. To celebrate the Mandela Day, South Africans need to uphold Madiba's ideal, including his unwavering commitment to justice, equality and a non-racial South Africa," South African government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.

The Mandela Day this year will be observed under the theme "Take Action, Inspire Change. Make Every Day a Mandela Day".

"Let us heed to the call of President Jacob Zuma, and make it the biggest Mandela Day ever on the 18th of July, focusing on doing good all over the country," the government spokesperson said.

"Communities across the country would participate in activities such as painting classrooms, cleaning parks, repairing water leaks among others," Williams said.


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