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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid