ANC: United Nations will celebrate Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday

July 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 17 (UPI) -- The African National Congress said it will celebrate Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday Thursday and remains inspired by the former South African president.

Mandela has been in the hospital for a chronic lung condition since June 8 and the ANC called on Africans and people the world over to join in "making every day a Mandela Day."

The ANC said the United Nations will call a special sitting Thursday in New York in Mandela's honor. Dignitaries in attendance will include former President Bill Clinton, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and musician Harry Belafonte.

While Mandela remains in the hospital, his granddaughter said she's hurt by an ongoing family feud over the reburial of the ailing South African leader's three dead children.

Ndileka Mandela said she was upset the remains of her father -- Thembekile -- and two other of Mandela's children -- Makgatho and Makaziwe -- were exhumed and reburied twice as part of the row dispute, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Makgatho's son, Mandla, traditional clan chief, had the three graves moved from Qunu to Mvezo -- where he lives -- two years ago to ensure Mandela would be buried there as well.

Mandela, though, said he wanted to be buried in Qunu, so 16 family members filed suit against Mandla to have the graves moved back to Qunu. The remains were reinterred Thursday.

"It was something that we did not want to take in the public space but because of who we are, it was. It did spill over to the public space," Ndileka said of the dispute. "There is no way that I can never forgive, but it's just that right now I'm still hurting."

Ndileka, an intensive care nurse, also said she's bothered by the intrusive and personal questions her family has received regarding the illness of her grandfather, who has been in the hospital since June 8 with a lung infection.

She said relatives have been asked: "Is it over with Mr. Mandela?" and "Is he on life support?"

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