News / Africa

    Mandela Hospitalization Punctuates ANC Leadership Change

    Anita Powell
    Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized just a week before South Africa’s ruling party gathers to choose a leader who will be heir apparent to the presidency. As the political storm clouds gather, some citizens say they are losing faith in the party that inextricably is tied to the beloved former president.

    South Africa’s ruling African National Congress turned 100-years old this year, and welcomed the event with a raucous celebration involving party stalwarts and foreign heads of state.

    But one man was conspicuously absent from the festivities: Nelson Mandela. Now 94, Mandela became the party’s first South African president as a result of the nation’s first multiracial elections in 1994.

    Mandela has pent two nights in a military hospital in Pretoria for an undisclosed ailment. Government officials said Saturday he was admitted for routine tests, and President Jacob Zuma said Sunday he visited Mandela and found him to be “comfortable.”

    Nelson Mandela

    • 1918 - Born in Transkei, South Africa
    • 1944 - Joined African National Congress
    • 1956 - Charged with treason, later acquitted
    • 1962 - Convicted of sabotage and sentenced to 5 years
    • 1964 - Sentenced to life in prison for plotting to overthrow the government
    • 1990 - Released from prison
    • 1991 - Elected president of ANC
    • 1993 - Won Nobel Peace Prize
    • 1994 - Elected president of South Africa
    • 1999 - Decided not to seek a second term as president
    • 2004 - Retired from public life
    • 2007 - Formed The Elders group
    • 2011 - Briefly hospitalized for a chest infection
    • 2012 - Hospitalized again,this time for gallstones
    • 2013 - Treated for a recurring lung infection, dies on Dec. 5
    Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela is doing well. He reiterated statements that Mandela’s hospitalization is not a cause for alarm.

    “Former President Nelson Mandela has had a good night’s rest, the doctors will still conduct further tests today, he is in good hands," said Maharaj. "We have indicated from the beginning that these are tests being conducted in line with concerns over a person of his age. He is 94 years old. And tests and attention, at that age, every little issue has got to be addressed as a serious issue.”

    Maharaj would not say how long Mandela might remain in the hospital.

    Mandela was one of the party’s key leaders when it was banned during the apartheid era, and he paid a hefty price for it, spending 27 years in prison for his role in fighting white minority rule.

    He played a key role in legitimizing the ANC and its cause through a series of private talks with the government during his final years in prison. He emerged victorious in 1991 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - 19 years ago - for engineering an end to apartheid.  Mandela signed the nation’s new constitution on December 10, 1996.

    But Mandela has not been the head of the ANC since 1997. He retired from public life in 2004, and his charitable foundation has tightened its ranks around him. He no longer gives interviews and his public appearances are increasingly rare.

    Yet even though he is no longer at the forefront of the movement, he still is the conscience of this nation, said analyst Paul Graham, and his hospitalization has an effect on politics.

    “I think that there is no doubt that between 1994 and at least until 2000, we had an extremely hardworking government comprised of the best of minds, with a very strong commitment to the transformation of South Africa. And during that time, his behavior and his stature brought people together in a way which has not happened since,” said Graham.

    Graham, who is the executive director of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, said Mandela still is seen as a powerful force who might have been capable of mediating the party’s current leadership struggle.

    Amelia Mosiuoa said she fondly remembers Mandela’s tenure. But since then, the 42-year-old chef says things have gotten worse and she does not hold the current leadership in the same regard.

    “It is not that bad. But he has got too much scandal, we can not take those scandals. We need somebody who is honest, who is going to give us what we want,” she said.

    Mosiuoa did not say which of the ANC members vying for party leadership would fill that role. As Mandela fades into the background of politics, the ANC will select its torchbearer next week.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora