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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 July, 2003, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Birthday salutes for 'Madiba'
Nelson Mandela
Opening the Nelson Mandela bridge was part of the birthday celebrations

Former president Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday celebrations have culminated with the opening of a bridge in Johannesburg named in his honour.

There have continued to be glowing tributes from the South African media.

The world's most charismatic and well loved icon.

South African Radio

Madiba has taken advantage of his status to be a voice of the oppressed and the poor, and to focus the attention of the world on their plight, particularly in Africa. He has managed to mobilise people where, all too often, others have failed.

The Herald

All of these achievements have changed South Africa. But Mandela has also changed the world. He has made the arrogant powers of Europe and the West sit up and listen to an African statesman.

Sunday Times

It is tempting to think of him as a saint. But he is not. He is human and he has made mistakes. But in keeping with his true nature, he was prepared to say so when he was wrong. He has dignity and portrays an ethos from which we can all learn.

The Star

In our generation the gods bequeathed us Nelson Mandela, who for billions around the world has come to symbolise the virtues and values needed to reverse the barbarism that characterised human behaviour in the past century.

The Mail and Guardian

Mandela is a symbol not just to South Africans but to all people. His life story tells the world of the overwhelming power of dignified, principled courage in the face of oppression.


There has always been one golden thread running through the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: service to the people from which he derives his massive support and moral authority.

Cape Times

85 and still world champ.

Cape Argus

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

In pictures: Mandela's birthday party
19 Jul 03  |  Photo Gallery
Multimedia tributes for Mandela
18 Jul 03  |  Africa

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