News / Africa

    South Africans Continue Vigil for Mandela

    Children from a creche pray for the health of Nelson Mandela outside the entrance to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 28, 2013. Children from a creche pray for the health of Nelson Mandela outside the entrance to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
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    Children from a creche pray for the health of Nelson Mandela outside the entrance to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    Children from a creche pray for the health of Nelson Mandela outside the entrance to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    VOA News
    South Africans continue to gather outside the hospital in Pretoria where anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition.

    The South African president's office said Thursday Mandela's condition was "critical, but now stable" after improving overnight.

    Earlier, Mandela's daughter Makaziwe said her father did not look good, but was still opening his eyes and responding to touch.

    Dozens of well-wishers held a candlelight vigil throughout the night, delivering flowers and messages of support for the 94-year-old leader.

    U.S. President Barack Obama, who visits the country Friday, said his thoughts and prayers are with Mandela, the country's first black president.

    White House officials say they will leave it up to the Mandela family to decide whether President Obama will visit Mandela. The U.S. leader is visiting South Africa as part of his week-long visit to the continent.

    Mandela has been at Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital since he was rushed there June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

    On Tuesday, Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba offered a prayer that Mandela be granted a "peaceful, perfect 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.


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