Nelson Mandela Day: Ellen DeGeneres, Kerry Washington, Michelle Obama, Pharrell and More Celebrate Late South African Leader

Nelson Mandela would have been 96 today.

The South African leader and anti-apartheid revolutionary died on Dec. 5, leaving July 18, his birthday, as an opportunity for his contributions to the advancement of global peace to be celebrated in his absence.

In honor of Mandela’s legacy, social media has been packed with remembrances and tributes, many of them coming from the celebrity crowd that has practically deified Mandela, reserving an almost spiritual reverence for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was also an A-list celeb in his own right.

But first and foremost, they remember what the man himself both tried to do and managed to accomplish:

“Nelson Mandela was born into a world of unbelievable injustice, and he changed it. Imagine if all the world’s people aspired to that,” tweeted Ellen DeGeneres, one of many Hollywood types who took a moment to pay their respects.

“Let’s draw inspiration from Madiba’s example & recommit ourselves to leaving our kids a better world. #MandelaDay –mo,” Michelle Obama tweeted.

“I was in awe when I met Nelson Mandela, I didn’t even know all of the things he accomplished, he knew my name!” wroteboxerEvander Holyfield.

Here’s a sampling of more celeb tweets:
Nelson Mandela was born into a world of unbelievable injustice, and he changed it. Imagine if all the world?s people aspired to that.? Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) July 18, 2014
Happy #MandelaDay #Time2Serve pic.twitter.com/iRXOmdYqPV? kerry washington (@kerrywashington) July 18, 2014

Today’s #FridayTip is in honor of Nelson Mandela =) #MandelaDay pic.twitter.com/xHEyKHmld6? Drew Scott (@MrDrewScott) July 18, 2014

Let’s draw inspiration from Madiba’s example & recommit ourselves to leaving our kids a better world. #MandelaDay?mo pic.twitter.com/ceL4CWNZ88? The First Lady (@FLOTUS) July 18, 2014

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