Celebrations will take place across the world tomorrow to mark Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday.
A Nobel peace laureate, Mandela spent 27 years in prison fighting racist rule. He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, serving a five-year term.
To commemorate his remarkable life ahead of the big day, we’ve collated 94 images of him throughout the ages, including his prison mug shot, meetings with heads of state, past and present including Muammar Gaddafi, Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher.
Birthday boy: Nelson Mandela turns 94 on July 18
We’ve also unearthed pictures of the great man with the Spice Girls, Michael Jackson and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
The special day has also become known as Mandela Day – an initiative of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. People worldwide are encouraged to devote time (specifically 67 minutes in recognition of his 67 years of service) community service to pay tribute to the anti-aparthied icon.
You can make your own pledge for global good at the official pledge book – a cause already receiving support from the likes of Desmond Tutu, Eddie Izzard, Jamie Oliver, One Direction and Lewis Hamilton.
Izzard, who sadly had to abort a marathon tribute to the icon, said: "Nelson Mandela is my greatest inspiration and on July 18th, his 94th birthday, is still a shining example to the world of what is possible.
"That is why I am joining millions building his legacy - Nelson Mandela's global movement for good at Mandela Day Pledge. I urge you to do likewise."
What's more, every person who pledges will automatically be entered in to a draw to win the chance to fly to South Africa and present the Pledge Book to the Nelson Mandela Foundation with a partner, courtesy of South African Airways.
In a statement commemorating Mandela's 94th birthday, President and Mrs. Obama wrote:
Nelson Mandela’s personal story is one of unbreakable will, unwavering integrity, and abiding humility. On a personal note, our family has been inspired by Madiba’s example, and has deeply appreciated the time we have spent with him, and his wisdom, grace and generosity of spirit. By any measure, Nelson Mandela has changed the arc of history, transforming his country, continent, and the world.
According to Africa.com, Mandela has settled back in the rural community where he was born in recent years. And like many celebrations of his birthday through the years, South Africans are celebrating this year in fine form.
For more images of Nelson Mandela's life, check out Africa.com.
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