News / Africa

    Mandela's Condition Unchanged Government Says

    A man takes a moment to read some of the get well wishes and messages outside Nelson Mandela's house in Johannesburg, South Africa, July, 4, 2013.
    A man takes a moment to read some of the get well wishes and messages outside Nelson Mandela's house in Johannesburg, South Africa, July, 4, 2013.
    VOA News
    South Africa says former president Nelson Mandela remains in 'critical but stable' condition at the Pretoria hospital where he was admitted last month.

    The update on the 94-year-old former leader follows a visit to the hospital by current President Jacob Zuma on Thursday. 

    In a statement, Zuma thanked the nation and the international community for their continued support. 

    He urged South Africans to volunteer 67 minutes of their time on July 18, Mandela's birthday, to help change their communities and South Africa for the better.

    The 67 minutes symbolizes the number of years Mandela spent in public service.

    Meanwhile in a rare comment, Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, said Thursday the ailing former leader is sometimes uncomfortable, but rarely in pain, adding that "he is fine." 

    Machel spoke Thursday at a fundraising drive for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust.

    Mandela has remained at Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital since he was rushed there on June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

    For weeks, groups of well-wishers have gathered outside the hospital, delivering flowers and messages of support for the ailing former president.

    Mandela is considered a national hero in South Africa for his role in ending official racial discrimination and white-minority rule.  After spending 27 years in prison, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was elected South Africa's first black president the following year.

    • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, holds a candle during a prayer service for the ailing Mandela at a church in Johannesburg, July 5, 2013. 
    • Ndaba Mandela (R), one of former South African President Nelson Mandela's grandsons, and an unidentified companion leave the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where the former president is being treated, in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • Well-wishers pray in support of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela in front of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013.
    • Daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, leaves after visiting the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • Well-wishers post messages outside the hospital where ailing former President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • A well-wisher weeps as he pays his respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
    • Boys hold a candle as they pay their respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
    • Men stand next to a banner covered with portraits of Nelson Mandela to a wall outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    • A well-wisher pays respect to ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
    • Granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Tukwini Mandela are surrounded by the media outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
    • Children release 95 white balloons to mark the upcoming birthday of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.


    Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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