News / Africa

Mandela Better, but Still Critical

A well-wisher uses his phone to take a picture of a banner of photos of Nelson Mandela, outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa Thursday, July 18, 2013. South Afr
A well-wisher uses his phone to take a picture of a banner of photos of Nelson Mandela, outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa Thursday, July 18, 2013. South Afr
Anita Powell
Nelson Mandela once said "it always seems impossible until it’s done," a maxim the former president's life exemplified: weathering a grueling 27-year prison sentence; overturning South Africa’s once-powerful apartheid regime; reconstituting a fractured nation through a philosophy of reconciliation.
 
It seems almost impossible, too, that Mandela has now spent two months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted for a recurring lung infection. The president’s office, the lone source of his official medical updates, says he remains "critical but stable" after slipping into critical condition on June 23.
 
But as his hospital stay lengthens, updates become fewer and fewer, and on Thursday, Mandela's 62nd day, President Jacob Zuma made no mention of his predecessor while accepting an award for bravery.
 
In the absence of facts, South Africans cling to hope: Get-well cards and signs litter the entrance to the tightly guarded private hospital, where schoolchildren regularly pass singing their well wishes.
 
Religious leaders sought to capitalize on that hope earlier this week when they visited the hospital to pray with Mandela's family. Bishop Jo Seoka, president of the South African Council of Churches, said Wednesday that the former president was conscious, but that church leaders didn’t get to see him during their visit.
 
He said the family did not tell church leaders when Mandela might be able to go home.
 
"To ask questions that only God can answer is beyond us," he said, asking South Africans to view Mandela’s health problems as a call to action.
 
"Now God is using Madiba in his extended illness to present to us a fresh challenge to unite behind the values that he represents, and that should be the agenda of our nation, in our homes, in our communities, our schools, our institutions and organs of state," said Seoka, referring to Mandela by his clan name.
 
"The African National Congress is very concerned that Comrade Madiba remains in hospital," said Khusela Sangoni-Khawe, spokeswoman for the ruling party, whose members have been holding prayer vigils around the country.
 
"Two months is a long time, too long for anybody to be in hospital," she added. "We are, however, encouraged by the reports that we keep getting from the presidency that he is in a stable condition and that he is responding to the medication that he has been given. And we are confident that his stay in hospital is a comfortable one, that the doctors, the nurses, all medical personnel are doing their very best to ensure that he gets out of hospital as soon as possible."
 
Elected in 1994, after being instrumental in bringing apartheid to an end, Mandela served as South Africa’s first black president.
 
His health has worsened in recent years. He has been in and out of hospital for much of this year, and between stays has required intensive home-based care.
 
 
  
 
 

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More