A 94-minute charity event for victims of HIV/AIDS to be held today to mark Nelson Mandela’s 94 birthday

To mark Nelson Mandela’s 94 birthday celebrations, the South African High Commission here will devote 94 minutes of its time to a charity event in the Capital for victims of HIV/AIDS. The charity is in recognition of Mandela’s lifetime devotion to humanity.

The High Commission will celebrate “Nelson Mandela International Day-2012” at Satyagraha Hall of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti on Wednesday. It will celebrate the occasion along with Sun Foundation, which is providing free education to disadvantaged kids and working for the cause of the girl child. It is also supporting an old-age home in South Africa.

The assembly at Raj Ghat is of historic significance because Mahatma Gandhi played an influential role in shaping up the history of South Africa and for inspiring Nelson Mandela, who introduced Bapu’s concept of non-violence to the politics of South Africa in his fight against apartheid.

At the event, South African High Commissioner to India Harris Majeke will deliver the welcome address. It would be followed by screening of a 12-minute film on Mandela.

According to Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti vice-chairperson Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, who is expected to address the gathering, Nelson Mandela is a guiding light even today. “He inspired others in so many different countries.”

Describing Mandela as a rock-like figure, Ms. Bhattacharjee, grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, said the former was inspired by the Father of the Nation. “Gandhiji led the wave and Mandela followed him. At a time when the world is embattling violence and terror, his name will always be remembered. He is a great figure who is Gandhian in thought. He successfully fought against apartheid.”

Free Souls, a biker’s organisation, will be conducting a “Motor Bikers for Mandela Ride”. Escorted by police, the riders will depart from the South African High Commission at 5-30 p.m. and reach Raj Ghat. Participants will be requested to donate generously to the Touch of Hope Foundation, an Indian non-government organisation providing a humanitarian response to the plight of HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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