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Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
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SA awash with good wishes for Mandela
Awash with good wishes, South Africa's media highlighted the love and awe the country felt for Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday on Friday.

Awash with good wishes, South Africa's media highlighted the love and awe the country felt for Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday on Friday, as some bemoaned what has become of his shining legacy.

Special Mandela 90th birthday editions, pull-out supplements and pages of tributes, memories and comments from well-wishers adorned the country's newspapers, the majority of which had the icon on their front page.

One of the most popular wishes for the world's favourite elder statesman is that of many more years.

Politicians, sportsmen, celebrities and everyone who is anyone, or not, had something to say as Mandela turned 90.

On the front page of the Citizen, the World Cup-winning Springbok rugby team posed with a birthday cake.

In the Star, the South African cricket team told Madiba they looked forward to his "century".

Amid the well wishes, the Mail & Guardian brushed on the sobering state of the country post-Mandela, saying the anti-apartheid icon's "legacy is under threat".

"The sweet celebration of a life of leadership, service and generosity is mixed with the sour taste of a legacy being polluted in front of the old man's tired eyes," it said.

"Where Mandela united, [current President Thabo] Mbeki has divided.

His willingness to forgive and be reconciled with his former persecutors in the interests of South Africa is in sharp contrast with the 'politics of total take-over' that has gripped the ruling party."

However, most chose to focus on the festivities.

In a full-page advertisement, popular chicken franchise Nando's, famed for its cheeky ads, wished Madiba happy birthday from one Rolihlahla (Madiba's middle name, meaning "troublemaker") to another.

The chain is offering all 90-year-olds a meal on the house.

Editorials remarked on the life of the great man.

"Yes, he led an armed struggle for a just cause but can anyone even think of another human being who has done as much for world peace -- and peace in our land," said the Sowetan.

"Despite his sometimes questionable judgement in shirts, we remain in awe of the great uniter."

The Star recalled Mandela's eventful life, saying the real man, and all his political achievements, had been obscured "by sanctifying

"When he was released from prison, he emerged as a tall, slender man with a winning smile, a message of reconciliation and commitment to building a united nation," it said.

The newspaper carried a message on its front page from Mbeki, who said: "All of us as South Africans glow in the light of fame in part because we stand on the shoulders of this and other giants."

The birthday "grandfather" himself issued a recorded message played on public radio.

"We are honoured that you wish to celebrate the birthday of a retired old man who no longer has power or influence. We wish you well wherever you are. We are all celebrating and we thank you for joining
me in those celebrations," Mandela said. - AFP