JOHANNESBURG — Annah Nankie Nhlapo has been waiting 22 years for a home. On a dusty narrow road on the outskirts of Johannesburg, the foundation of her house is finally taking shape.
Over the next five days, to commemorate the UN-mandated Nelson Mandela International Day, the housing charity Habitat for Humanity is working with volunteers to build 67 houses across South Africa, in honor of Mandela’s 67 years of political service. Nhlapo is one of the lucky ones who will be handed keys.
For two decades, she and her five children have crowded into one of the flimsy shacks that sprawl across Orange Farm, a settlement named after its original purpose.
Across the country and abroad, people are doing good deeds to honor the country’s most famous statesman on his 94th birthday Wednesday.
Bill Clinton got the celebrations off to an early start Tuesday. The former US president and his daughter, Chelsea, met for 1 ½ hours with Mandela in his birth village of Qunu in a remote southeastern corner of the country. Photographs tweeted by one of Mandela’s grandsons showed the Nobel Peace Prize winner comfortably seated in an armchair with a blanket over his knees, with the Clintons and his wife, Graca Machel, at his side.
The Clintons and Machel each planted an avocado pear tree to mark the occasion.