| GEO World|
| Mandela celebrating 91st birthday Saturday|
| Updated at: 0728 PST, Wednesday, July 15, 2009|
JOHANNESBURG: Former South African president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday urged the world to observe his birthday this week by doing volunteer work to improve the lives of others.
"It is our hope that people will dedicate their time and effort to improve the conditions within their own communities," said Mandela in a videotaped message prepared ahead of his 91st birthday on Saturday.
His charitable Nelson Mandela Foundation is encouraging an annual observance of his birthday on July 18 as a Mandela Day devoted to public service.
"We are humbled by the call for an annual Mandela Day in our honour. Our struggle for freedom and justice was a collective effort. Mandela Day is no different," Mandela said.
The first Mandela Day will be observed this year in honour of the South African icon, who became the country's first black president in 1994.
People around the world are being urged to dedicate 67 minutes of their day to volunteer their time for community service. The number reflects the number of years since Mandela took up the struggle for equality in South Africa.
"It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it. Mandela Day will not be a holiday but a day devoted to service."