Pretoria - US President Barack Obama and wife Michael have saluted anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela on his 93rd birthday, saying he set the standard for service delivery by civil servants worldwide.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Obamas congratulated Mandela for devoting his life to public service and a legacy that exemplifies what Obama calls "wisdom, strength and grace."
They described him as a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation.
"A man who devoted 67 years of his life to public service, Madiba sets the standard for service worldwide, whether we are students, shopkeepers or farmers, cabinet ministers or presidents. He calls on us to serve our fellow human beings, and better our communities."
"Mandela's legacy exemplifies wisdom, strength and grace, and on the anniversary of his birth we salute the example of his life."
Michelle and her two daughters, Sasha and Malia, recently met Madiba during an official visit to South Africa. They described their time with Madiba as the most moving part of their trip.
"On behalf of the people of the United States, we congratulate Nelson Mandela, and honour his vision for a better world," the Obamas said.