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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs