Former South African president and ikon of the anti-apartheid struggle Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela also affectionately known as Madiba or mkhulu (grandfather) - turned 88 on 18 July.
Birthday wishes flooded in from all over the world and presents received include a shipment of rum and cigars from Cuban president Fidel Castro.
He is trying very hard to enjoy retirement but its not easy. We are still inundated with requests for his time, said Mandelas spokeswoman, Zelda la Grange, At the age of 88 he is doing exceptionally well, health-wise. However, there is less time for work and a bigger need for more time to attend to his health.
The grandfather of the nation spent his birthday at his home in the company of his family, where he also celebrated his wedding anniversary with his third wife, Graca Machel, whom he married in 1998.
Imprisoned from 1964 until 1990 for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He stepped down as president in 1999, shortly before his 81st birthday. Since then, most of his time has been devoted to his foundation and projects for childrens charities and public appearances are rare. He regularly meets with high-profile international figures from the political, business and show business world. Many of them end up donating to the causes closes to Madibas heart such as children, education and the battle against HIV/Aids. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize together with then South African President F. W. de Klerk in 1993.