The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, as his family insists he is making “remarkable” progress in hospital.

South African biker gangs will clean streets, volunteers will paint schools and politicians will spend 67 minutes on worthy projects – to mark Mr Mandela’s 67 years of public service.

Children in schools around the country will start the day by singing “Happy Birthday” to Mr Mandela, who also marks 15 years since he married his third wife Graca Machel.

The UN declared the Nobel peace laureate’s birthday Mandela Day in 2010, but for many this year it takes on extra poignancy.

Mr Mandela has spent the last 41 days in a Pretoria hospital in a critical but stable condition after being admitted for a recurring lung infection.

Mr Mandela’s youngest daughter has told Sky News her father has been able to communicate and watch television.

“He is making remarkable progress,” Zindzi Mandela said, adding that when she visited him on Tuesday he was “watching TV with his headphones”.

“He responds very well … with his eyes, and he nods and sometimes he lifts his hand like to shake your hand.”

US President Barack Obama also urged people to honour Mr Mandela on his birthday “through individual and collective acts of service”.

“Through our own lives, by heeding his example, we can honour the man who showed his own people – and the world – the path to justice, equality, and freedom,” Mr Obama said.

The South African Government will host a ceremony for the symbolic handing over of Mr Mandela’s new high-tech ID card, which will be received by Zindzi Mandela.

The event is laden with meaning in a country where apartheid was enforced by pass books, which black citizens were forced to carry and which limited movement to certain areas at certain times.

“On behalf of government and all the people of South Africa, we wish Madiba a joyous 95th birthday,” South African president Jacob Zuma said, using Mr Mandela’s clan name.

“We are proud to call this international icon our own as South Africans and wish him good health.

“We thank all our people for supporting Madiba throughout the hospitalisation with undying love and compassion.

“We also thank all for responding to the call to give Madiba the biggest birthday celebration ever this year.”

And a group of young South African artists and designers will unveil a poster project to celebrate Mr Mandela’s life through paintings and posters.

The group whittled down 700 posters submitted by designers from more than 70 countries, to 95 for each year of Mr Mandela’s life.

A single special edition of the posters will be auctioned off to raise money for a proposed children’s hospital that will be named after Mr Mandela, the group said.

“He carries across this concept of humanity and selflessness,” said Mohammed Jogie, co-founder of the project.

Elsewhere world leaders, pop stars and companies also plan to pledge their support for Mr Mandela.

“I will also be giving my 67 minutes to make the world a better place, one small step at a time,” said Richard Branson.

Also in the UK, a giant portrait of Mr Mandela’s face has been etched into the English countryside to celebrate his birthday.

The two-acre maze in corn crops in Birchington, near Margate, Kent, was the idea of Karen Botha and Dawn Tilley who have spent the past five years working on the design.

Meanwhile, 50 abandoned street children in the Philippines will get to tour a Manila television studio and see performances by local artists.

And the Australian city of Melbourne will hold a concert featuring local and African artists on the weekend, while a music festival later this year in Norway will promote equality in schools.

source:  skynews