Cape Town, July 2: So the 18th of July is the birthday of people's favourite Nelson Mandela. It will also be celebrated as the "International Nelson Mandela day".
African President Jacob Zuma on Monday announced that Nelson Mandela's health status was critical but stable and asked people of the country to prepare for his birthday.
In a statement, Zuma said, "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 also briefly thanked all South Africans for keeping the ailing former president in their thoughts and prayers, in his statement.
"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," said Jacob Zuma in an earlier statement.
People across the world, including bigshots like his fellow Nobel Peace Laureates -- the U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama - have expressed their respect and prayers for the former South African president.
People have been singing and praying in front of the hospital where Nelson Mandela is currently hospitalised. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met the family of ailing Mandela last week. Dalai Lama in 2011 tried to visit South Africa to meet the aging former president but failed to get a visa from the South African government.
"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 day will be celebrated under the theme "Take Action, Inspire Change. Make Every Day a Mandela Day". "Communities across the country would participate in activities such as painting classrooms, cleaning parks, repairing water leaks among others," Williams said.