19 Jul 2011

South Africa celebrates Mandela's 93rd birthday

7:38 am on 19 July 2011

A frail but still active Mandela, who survived a health scare this year, spent his birthday on Monday with family near his rural boyhood home.

Mandela won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping end white-minority rule in South Africa and served as president from 1994 to 1999.

He left behind an economically robust state that became a global beacon of hope for those seeking to end unjust rule.

But in recent months, questions have been raised about whether the African National Congress has veered from his legacy, with masses of poor seeing little improvement in their economic plight.

The non-racial ANC that Mandela espoused was jolted when Julius Malema, the current leader of the ANC Youth League founded by Mandela in 1944, told a political rally in May that whites did not belong in the movement.

President Jacob Zuma spoke at the same rally and did not offer a rebuke.

Political analysts say there appears to be an increasing divide between ANC veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle who favour unity, social justice and reconciliation and younger members who care more about economic advancement.