Nelson Mandela is spending his 95th birthday in hospital in Pretoria, as events take place around the world and in South Africa in his honour, the BBC reports.
South Africans are being urged to mark the former president and anti-apartheid leader’s 67 years of public service with 67 minutes of charitable acts.
Mr Mandela, who is in critical but stable condition with a recurring lung infection, entered hospital on 8 June.
President Jacob Zuma said his health was “steadily improving”.
“We are proud to call this international icon our own as South Africans and wish him good health,” Mr Zuma said in a statement.
“We thank all our people for supporting Madiba throughout the hospitalisation with undying love and compassion,” he said, referring to Mandela’s clan name.
Mr Mandela’s birthday is also Nelson Mandela International Day, a day declared by the UN as a way to recognise the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to reconciliation.
The former statesman is revered across the world for his role in ending apartheid in South Africa. He went on to become the first black president in the country’s first all-race elections in 1994.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) said that on this Mandela Day homage was being paid to 95 years of “life well-lived”, dedicated to the liberation of South Africans and people all over the world.