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Happy birthday to Nelson Mandela, born July 18, 1918.

Good news for the former president of South Africa.  Even though a diary here once reported him dead, he's actually doing better, as reported by the AP.

South Africa celebrated Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday on Thursday, a milestone capped by news that the former president's health was improving after fears that he was close to death during ongoing hospital treatment.

"Madiba remains in hospital in Pretoria but his doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving," said a statement from President Jacob Zuma, referring to Mandela by his popular clan name.

His life is too full to even give a brief summary, but I thought I would link to and include some of the awards and honors he has received.  We all know about his being president, and we know he won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Here are some others:

1973 - A nuclear particle discovered by scientists at the University of Leeds is named "Mandela nelson"
1975 - Honorary life membership of the Students' Union, University of London
1979 Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations New Delhi, India

Road named after Mandela by the London Borough of Brent
Bruno Kreisky Award for merit in the field of human rights, chosen by a panel of international judges, Vienna, Austria

Elected Honorary Life President of the Students' Union at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Honorary citizenship of Rome, February.
Honorary citizenship of Olympia, Greece, 17 March
Honorary Doctorate of Laws. City College of New York, 5 June
City Council of Dublin, Ireland, unveiled sculpture in a city park by Elisabeth Frink dedicated to Nelson Mandela, 26 June
City Council of Harlow, United Kingdom, renamed one of its major roads in honour of Nelson Mandela, 18 July
AUEW/TASS, one of United Kingdom's major trade unions, held a special ceremony to rename their executive committee room the 'Nelson Mandela Room', 18 July
Freedom of London Borough of Greenwich, 20 July
UNESCO awards its first Simon Bolivar International Prize jointly to Nelson Mandela and King Juan Carlos of Spain at a ceremony in Caracas, Venezuela, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Simón Bolívar, 24 July[7]
City Council of Leeds, United Kingdom, names the Civic Hall 'Nelson Mandela Gardens', 10 December
Park in Hull, United Kingdom, named 'Mandela Park'
Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
The Students Unions of Warwick University, Coventry Polytechnic (now Coventry University) and South Bank Polytechnic (now London South Bank University) named rooms in honour of Nelson Mandela
New York City renamed square in front of South African mission to the United Nations 'Nelson and Winnie Mandela Plaza'

Honorary Degree, Free University of Brussels, 13 January
London Borough of Camden Council, names the street where the Anti-Apartheid Movement has its headquarters as 'Mandela Street'.
London Borough of Hackney Council, renames a housing block after Nelson Mandela, April
Playa Giron Award, Cuba, awarded by Fidel Castro
Honorary membership of National Association of Local Government Officers [NALGO] United Kingdom
London Borough of Haringey Council, names housing development after Nelson Mandela
Monument to Nelson Mandela unveiled in Merrion Square, Dublin
Elected Honorary Member of the Students Association, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
Freedom of the City of Wijnegem, Belgium
Freedom of the City of Aberdeen conferred on both Nelson and Winnie Mandela, 29 November
School in German Democratic Republic named 'Nelson Mandela School'

Revenue Staff Federation, United Kingdom, names its Commonwealth trade union scholarship after Nelson Mandela
London Borough of Southwark names new road 'Mandela Way'
Nottingham City Council names a room in a sports centre
The Third World Prize, awarded annually by the London-based Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, awarded jointly to Nelson and Winnie Mandela
Awarded freedom of the City of Hull, United Kingdom.
Awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize by Human Rights Institute of The Bar of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, 29 March
Nigerian writers organisation, Writers and Journalists Against Apartheid (WAJAAP), confers title of Life Patron
Town of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, renames its speakers' corner Nelson Mandela Corner, September
Freedom of the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October
Honorary citizenship of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October
Diploma of Honour and Friendship from the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October
Statue of Nelson Mandela erected in London by Greater London Council, unveiled by Oliver Tambo on 28 October
Senegal's President Abdou Diouf inaugurates Soweto Square and Nelson Mandela Avenue in the centre of Dakar, Senegal, 6 December
Awarded Doctor of Laws degree by Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, December
 Street sign in Glasgow, Scotland.Elected Honorary Life President of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa
Awarded the W E B DuBois International Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP)
Coventry City Council named new building after Mandela
Presented with the Alfonso Comin Foundation Peace Award in Barcelona, Spain
Freedom of the Borough of Islwyn, Wales, given to Winnie and Nelson Mandela
International Peace and Freedom Award by the Workers International Centre, Stockholm Sweden

Made Honorary Life President of National Union of Mineworkers when he addressed its Central Committee, 21 April
Granted freedom of the City of Harare, Zimbabwe, March
'Mandela Day', a public holiday declared in Zimbabwe on 5 March
Awarded the Lenin Peace Prize for 1990, May. The last-ever recipient.
Bestowed the Dr António Agostinho Neto Order, the highest honour of the People's Republic of Angola, 12 May
Bestowed the award 'Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria', Lagos, 14 May
Awarded the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights in Tripoli, Libya, 19 or 20 May
Honorary degree in political science by the Cairo University, Egypt, May
Bestowed Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, October
Doctorate, honoris causa, conferred by University of Malaya, November
Honorary Doctorate in law, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town, 28 November
Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Cape Town

and that's just a smattering.

Wonder how much more he would have done if he hadn't been locked up all those years?

Some lives enrich us all.

Many Happy Returns, Mr. Mandela.

Tired of politics?  Need to escape?  Try one of my Greek-mythology based novels, either the story of Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus or a trilogy about Niobe, or one of the first examples of civil disobedience, Antigone and Creon.  Or, if you like mysteries and/or Jane Austen, treat yourself to
The Highbury Murders: A Mystery Set in the Village of Jane Austen’s Emma very positively reviewed at the Daily Kos Monday Murder Mystery blog.

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