News / Africa

South Africa's Nobel Co-winners Mandela, de Klerk in Hospital

South Africans in Johannesburg Pray for Mandelai
X
July 02, 2013 6:56 PM
South Africans are praying over the health of former president Nelson Mandela, who remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital. The ruling African National Congress held a vigil outside its headquarters in downtown Johannesburg. Mandela has been in the hospital since June 8 for a lung infection; he has been in critical condition now for more than two weeks. VOA’s Anita Powell spoke to attendees who said they wished their icon well.
South Africans in Johannesburg pray for Mandela
Anita Powell
South Africans continue praying for the health of former president Nelson Mandela, who remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital. On Tuesday, though, another former South African president went into the hospital for heart surgery. F.W. de Klerk shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for their joint effort to bring a peaceful end to the racist apartheid system and establish democracy.

South Africa has three living Nobel Peace laureates. On Tuesday, two were in the hospital.

The foundation of former president F.W. de Klerk, who served as South Africa’s last apartheid president, announced the 77-year-old would be fitted with a pacemaker Tuesday in Cape Town.

His successor, anti-apartheid icon Mandela, has been in a Pretoria hospital since June 8. The 94-year-old has been in critical condition for more than a week.

Good wishes abound

On Tuesday, the office of current President Jacob Zuma issued a statement wishing de Klerk a swift recovery.

“We wish the former president well during this difficult time," said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj. "Let us keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers, says President Zuma.”

On Tuesday, members of the ruling African National Congress [ANC] held a prayer meeting for Mandela outside their headquarters in downtown Johannesburg, in a building named after South Africa’s first-ever Nobel Peace laureate, Chief Albert Luthuli.

Hundreds of well-wishers sang songs and prayed for the anti-apartheid icon.

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe reserved his highest praise for Mandela, who he said was South Africa’s greatest leader. He said de Klerk played an important role, though, citing the historic day that he legalized the ANC, which had been banned.

“I think the apartheid regime discovered as a regime that it cannot govern on their own. And therefore, whether it was de Klerk, or [former President] P.W. [Botha], or whoever, at that moment, the moment had come for South Africa to change because apartheid was falling apart. I wish he can also recover quickly. He’s a fellow South African, he’s played his role, 7th February, 1990 made a huge difference,” said Mantashe.

Acknowledging gratitude

Prayer meeting attendee Evelyn Khumalo, 61, said Mandela changed her life in immeasurable - and tangible - ways. For example, she said, she now gets a government pension. She said both men were responsible for South Africa’s transformation.

“I’m getting a pension now. I eat their money! My children are going to school [for] free," said Khumalo. "There’s nothing to worry [about]. The problem is how to use the money that Mandela gives us. You know, de Klerk I love, because he give Madiba a chance to be a president, so that’s why we are. I feel sorry for him. He must be better. Because as of 1994, he decided to give Madiba, so the freedom is ours.”

Store worker Max Leteane, 47, said both men hold a special place in his heart.

“Mr. de Klerk, you are an icon. And I’m very sorry for you to be in hospital. It’s a sad thing for me. I’m wishing you well, come back,” he said.
 
In some ways, the two men could not be more different - one represented the old apartheid guard, the other a multiracial South Africa.

Yet in another way, the two icons could not exist without the other. De Klerk signed orders to release Mandela from his life term in prison.  Mandela, in turn, negotiated patiently with de Klerk’s National Party to bring apartheid to an end.

In 1993, when a right-wing assassin slew firebrand ANC leader Chris Hani, de Klerk asked Mandela to address the nation on television and urge calm.

At that moment, many South Africans say, it became clear who their new leader would be.

Mandela was elected the nation’s first black president in 1994, in the nation’s first all-inclusive elections. For his deputy president, he chose de Klerk.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Uwe from: Venlo
July 03, 2013 10:20 AM
Lets pray even for the wealth of Mr. de Klerk, a person - together with Mr. Mandela - did their outmost to form the new South Africa. Both are heroes, for me and many others.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

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