AFRICANGLOBE – Former South African president Nelson Mandela who is critically-ill marked two months in hospital yesterday, as his compatriots extended their national vigil.
The anti-apartheid hero was rushed to the Pretoria Mediclinic Heart Hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection. His condition is still said to be “critical but stable”.
But the last two months have seen a series of scares for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and for the country where he is considered a living saint.
His former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told reporters that the 95-year-old was “now breathing normally”.
Doctors had managed to contain his lung infection but kept “draining fluid from the lungs”, she said in an interview broadcast yesterday.
Madikizela-Mandela hit out at continuing speculation over the revered statesman’s imminent death.
“He is not here forever, but how cruel, how cruel is it from the same people that we gave up our lives for to be actually impatient,” she said.
Yesterday, a steady stream of pedestrians passed the hospital gates, which have been plastered with posters, hand-painted signs and notes wishing the ageing icon well.
Nearby a line of white satellite vans, some parked there for 62 days ― since Mandela fell ill ― were stationed on the road. A white police truck guarded the entrance, while police officers continued to search cars entering and leaving the hospital.
“The country is a little bit quiet because he is still alive,” said Elizabeth Thembo, a 63-year-old cleaner wearing a blue smock walking outside the hospital. “God must help him.”
On the eve of the sorrow-tinged anniversary church leaders led prayers in front of the hospital, urging South Africans to rally together.