As the world celebrates the annual Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July, the man to whom the day is dedicated remains in a "critical but stable condition" at a hospital in Pretoria, the country's administrative capital.
In 2009 the United Nations declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of Mandela's contribution to the building of a just and peaceful society. Each year on Mandela Day, individuals and organisations are encouraged to donate 67 minutes of their time to do good for society to mark Mandela's 67 years of public service. This year's theme is "Take Action, Inspire Change. Make Every Day a Mandela Day." President Zuma is marking the day by giving low-cost houses to the disadvantaged community of Danville in Pretoria West, as part of an ongoing programme to promote non-racial settlements.
The nation's first black president and anti-apartheid hero Mandela, who turns 95 on 18 July, has been hospitalised since 8 June for a recurring lung infection. Speaking on the eve of Mandela Day, the country's president Jacob Zuma said the best way to celebrate the occasion is to return Mandela's "sacrifices and contributions through our own efforts to build a better society." Mandela's daughter Zindzi told Sky News the same day that her father has made "dramatic progress" and that in her opinion he is likely to be "going home anytime soon." Last month it was widely speculated that Mandela was close to death however the latest reports say his health is “steadily improving.”