Mandela serious but stable
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Doctors are doing all they can to improve Nelson Mandela’s health as the 94-year-old icon spent a fourth day in the hospital for a recurring lung infection, South Africa’s president said Tuesday, as two of Mandela’s daughters visited their father.
In a possible sign of the seriousness of Mandela’s condition, daughter Zenani Mandela — South Africa’s ambassador to Argentina — arrived at the hospital to see her father. Former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela also visited.
Mandela’s doctors briefed President Jacob Zuma on the former president’s health late Monday, the president said in a statement.
In an interview, Zuma called Mandela’s situation “very serious” but said he has stabilized.
“We need him to be with us and I’m sure that all the messages that have been pouring in to wish him (a) quick and speedy recovery, they’re highly welcome,” Zuma told broadcaster SABC, adding later: “And we certainly join everyone to say he should recover quickly, and I’m sure, knowing him as I do, he’s a good fighter, he will be with us very soon.”
School children gathered outside his home in a Johannesburg suburb on Tuesday and sang songs expressing hope the former president would recover.
Mandela, the leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule. He was freed in 1990, and then embarked on peacemaking efforts during the tense transition that saw the demise of the apartheid system and his own election as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
His admission to a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, is Mandela’s fourth time being admitted to a hospital for treatment since December. His last discharge came April 6 after doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from his lung area.
At Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum on Tuesday, visitors walked through an exhibit showcasing the life of Mandela amid a feeling in the country that this hospitalization may be more serious than previous ones.
“All these admissions to the hospital has been preparing us for this, that this may be the end, and that is enough to tell us this is very serious,” said Father Victor Phalana of Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pretoria, who was touring the museum with two Catholic priests from Uganda.
Outside Mandela’s Johannesburg home, school children from the Rainbow Hill Christian School sang words of encouragement. “We love you Mandela … get well, get well,” they sang.