News / Africa

S. Africa’s President Visits Mandela Twice in 24 Hours

An unidentified young girl lays flowers outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
An unidentified young girl lays flowers outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
Anita Powell
South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday visited anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela for the second time in under 24 hours, a sign of growing concern about the former president’s health.  Mandela has remained in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital for five days, but his condition slightly improved Thursday, officials said.
 
Nelson Mandela has struggled for most of his life: first against South Africa’s racist apartheid system, then for 27 long years in prison, and then to bring his fractured nation together as its president.
 
His past 19 days in a Pretoria hospital have been a struggle as well, as the former fighter has battled a serious lung infection.  For two weeks he was in serious but stable condition; the past five days, he has been in critical condition.
 
President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela twice in under 24 hours; first late on Wednesday and then again on Thursday afternoon. Zuma determined Wednesday night that Mandela’s condition was severe enough for him to cancel a planned one-day trip to Mozambique.  On Thursday he was more optimistic, saying the former president had improved overnight.  
 
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj praised Mandela’s resilience.  The two men got to know each other while imprisoned at Robben Island.  Maharaj referred to the former leader by his clan name, Madiba.
 
“Well, we all know that Madiba is a fighter.  He has been through so much, both at the health level and in other arenas of life.  He’s endured it all.  I think that he has phenomenal willpower. And this is a matter that’s between him and God,” said Maharaj.
 
President Zuma’s office on Thursday confirmed that the ailing leader’s health has not disrupted U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to visit South Africa on Friday.  The two leaders will hold bilateral talks on Saturday.
 
Makaziwe Mandela (R), arrives with Ndileka (C) and Ndaba Mandela at the Pretoria hospital where former President Nelson Mandela is being treated, June 26, 2013.Makaziwe Mandela (R), arrives with Ndileka (C) and Ndaba Mandela at the Pretoria hospital where former President Nelson Mandela is being treated, June 26, 2013.
x
Makaziwe Mandela (R), arrives with Ndileka (C) and Ndaba Mandela at the Pretoria hospital where former President Nelson Mandela is being treated, June 26, 2013.
Makaziwe Mandela (R), arrives with Ndileka (C) and Ndaba Mandela at the Pretoria hospital where former President Nelson Mandela is being treated, June 26, 2013.
Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe told state broadcaster SABC that “anything is imminent” with regards to her father’s condition in an exclusive interview aired Thursday.
 
“He doesn’t look good, Vuyo, I mean, I’m not going to lie.  But I think that for us, as his children and grandchildren, we still have this hope because, you know, when we talk to him, he will flutter trying to open his eyes and will open his eyes.  When you touch him he still responds, and I think for us, as his progeny, as long as Tata is still responding, when we talk to him, when we touch him, I think that gives us hope,” she said.
 
She also criticized the intense media coverage her father has received.  Maharaj, too, has verbally tussled with journalists who have pressed the government for detailed information on Mandela.  He has also lashed out over unconfirmed reports about the 94-year-old’s medical condition.
 
“The rumors are going on.  They have been going on for a long time.  And we do not want to spend our time contradicting rumors and making that a story to create an atmosphere of panic among the public," he said.  "I think there is already a reasonable atmosphere of somberness, of seriousness in the country, and of people reflecting on the meaning of Mandela, and wanting to celebrate his life.  And so that is the space we are sitting in." And we think that working together, with the tasks that media have and government has, and the challenges faced by the family, we can manage this process with dignity and with regard to privacy.”
 
Also Thursday, the ruling African National Congress said they would start holding daily prayer sessions for Mandela.  Spokesman Keith Khoza said the party urged people to pray for Mandela’s full recovery.
 
Mandela was the first ANC leader to be elected South African president, and the first black man to be elected president in the nation’s first all-inclusive elections in 1994.  He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing apartheid to an end.

  • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, holds a candle during a prayer service for the ailing Mandela at a church in Johannesburg, July 5, 2013. 
  • Ndaba Mandela (R), one of former South African President Nelson Mandela's grandsons, and an unidentified companion leave the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where the former president is being treated, in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
  • Well-wishers pray in support of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela in front of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013.
  • Daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, leaves after visiting the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
  • Well-wishers post messages outside the hospital where ailing former President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
  • A well-wisher weeps as he pays his respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
  • Boys hold a candle as they pay their respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
  • Men stand next to a banner covered with portraits of Nelson Mandela to a wall outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
  • A well-wisher pays respect to ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
  • Granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Tukwini Mandela are surrounded by the media outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
  • Children release 95 white balloons to mark the upcoming birthday of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bill Kleinsturn
June 27, 2013 1:20 PM
27 "long" years, eh?

Way to editorialize, CNN.

by: AKRAM from: CANADA
June 27, 2013 1:18 PM
As per Islamic teaching we can run away from death for some time but not for ever and every one will have to die one day.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
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.

VOA Blogs

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