Nelson Mandela turns 93 today, July 18, a date now known as “Nelson Mandela International Day.” And so Morgan Freeman, who played the South African leader in the film, “Invictus,” took to the TV airwaves to deliver Mandela’s birthday wish.
The actor appeared on Monday’s “Today” show and on “Piers Morgan Tonight,” where he told TV viewers that Madiba, as he’s often referred to, wants everyone to perform 67 minutes of public service in honor of his birth. That’s the number of years that Mandela was “fighting for the rights of humanity,” according to Mandela Day’s Web site.
At a press conference in 1994, Mandela told reporters that he would want Freeman to play him on the big screen. And when the role in “Invictus” came about years later, Freeman told the Guardian he was able to follow the icon around.
President Obama called Mandela “a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation.”
More on Mandela:
The Root: Celebrating Nelson Mandela
BlogPost: Read a 1994 Washington Post article about a Mandela celebration in South Africa here.