Nelson Mandela celebrated his 93rd birthday Monday with millions of South African children.
More than 12 million students gave Mandela a birthday he won’t forget, singing a “special version of ‘Happy Birthday’ before lessons began Monday,” USA Today reported.
Presidents around the world, including South African President Jacob Zuma and United States President Barack Obama, also wished Mandela a very happy birthday. On Sunday, Obama said Mandela is “a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation.”
Mandela became South Africa’s first black president after he was sent to prison for 27 years, for fighting against apartheid. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. He currently lives with his family in the village of Ounu, approximately 600 miles south of Johannesburg.
If singing schoolchildren wasn’t enough, Mandela was also greeted by a brass band that played outside of his house for the occasion.
In 2009 his birthday was declared as an international day devoted to public service. For his 67 years of service to his community, people are asked to work in their local community for 67 minutes.
Mandela has made fewer appearances as he grows older. During the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which was held in South Africa, he appeared in front of the crowd for the closing ceremony.
Earlier this year, he was hospitalized with an acute respiratory infection.
Mandela’s foundation has recently released a book, “Nelson Mandela By Himself,” which showcases more than 2,000 quotations from Mandela on various topics, from freedom to HIV/AIDS.