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As South Africans come to terms with the loss of former president Nelson Mandela, the rest of the world bids farewell to Madiba.

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Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
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Birthday wishes stream in for Mandela
Congratulations and well wishes from local political parties and labour organisations are streaming in for former president Nelson Mandela.

Congratulations and well wishes from local political parties and labour organisations are streaming in for former president Nelson Mandela on the eve of the internationally renowned statesman's 88th birthday on Tuesday.

"On behalf of South African workers, we pay tribute once more to our great national liberation fighter and political leader, who did more than any other individual to transform our lives and our country," the Congress of South African Trade Unions said on Monday.

The unique role Mandela has played in the struggle against apartheid will never be forgotten.

In a separate statement, the national working committee of the African National Congress sent Mandela the ruling party's congratulations and best wishes.

"The ANC, the democratic movement and the people of South Africa salute you on the occasion of your 88th birthday.

"As we mark the achievement of this milestone in your life, we celebrate together the extraordinary contribution that you have made, and continue to make, to the realisation of the goal of a better life for all our people."

Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon hailed Mandela as South Africa's "greatest living statesman", saying he continued to inspire and enthral.

"On behalf of the DA I would like to wish Nelson Mandela a very happy birthday for tomorrow, and congratulate him on the great age he has reached," he said.

It is also fitting to thank him for the tremendous contribution he had made to South Africa's democratic dispensation, and for the work he continues to do to make the country a better place for all who live in it.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa saluted Mandela for his role as one of the founders of the country's democracy.

It praised him for the "goodwill and reconciliatory spirit which he has always expressed and has come to optimise".

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said although he had retired from active public life, Mandela remains an icon of the struggle for liberation -- not only in South Africa, but across the globe.

"We miss his leadership, friendly relationship with opposition parties and his wisdom. We will continue to have him in our hearts and pray that he will be in good health for years to come," said ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe.

Mandela will spend his birthday with his family at his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

His next public appearance is scheduled for Thursday, when he is set to receive an award from the University of Fort Hare. -- Sapa

On the net
The ANC has invited members of the public to send birthday greetings to Mandela on its website at ""