Fresh concern as Nelson Mandela spends a second day in hospital
The anti-apartheid leader has had ongoing issues with his health and was admitted to hospital following a recurring lung infection earlier this year. This will be his fourth hospital admission since December.
Mandela was at home in Johannesburg when his lung problems worsened and was admitted to hospital in the early hours of the morning on Saturday. Mr Mandela’s wife Graca Machel has cancelled a trip to London to stay with him.
Mac Maharaj, the presidency spokesperson, stated: “The truth of the matter is a simple one. Madiba is a fighter and at his age as long as he is fighting, he’ll be fine.” Referring to Mandela by his clan name “Madiba”, he added that the fact Mandela was now able to breathe on his own was a “positive” sign.
South Africans and world leaders alike have shown their support for the Nobel Peace laureate. British prime minister David Cameron used social networking site Twitter to express his well wishes, tweeting: “My thoughts are with Nelson Mandela, who is in hospital in South Africa.”
US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden also sent a supportive message from the White House, saying: “Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and the people of South Africa as he recovers.”
Sadly, some have been trying to prepare the huge amount of supporters for the possible loss of Mr Mandela, a man revered as a symbol of forgiveness. His friend of many years, Andrew Mlangeni, stated: “We wish him a speedy recovery, but I think what is important is that his family must release him.” He added: “Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too.”
This view is one of a growing number of calls to attempt to accept the mortality of Mr Mandela. President Zuma appeared to be preparing people for the possible loss of the anti-apartheid leader in March, telling the BBC: “In Zulu, when someone passes away who is very old, people say he or she has gone home. I think those are some of the things we should be thinking about.”