Mandela: Graça Machel thanks well-wishers

2013-06-17 11:23

Former president Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel, has thanked everyone who had sent messages of support for the ailing icon.

“So much love and generosity from South Africans, Africans across the continent, and thousands more from across the world, have come our way to lighten the burden of anxiety, bringing us love, comfort and hope,” Machel said today.

“We have felt the closeness of the world and the deepest meaning of strength and peace.”

Machel said the family’s gratitude was difficult to express.

“But the love and peace we feel gives yet more life to the simple thank you.”

Mandela (94) was spending his 10th day in hospital today.

He was admitted in the early hours of June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

The presidency said he was in a “serious but stable” condition.

President Jacob Zuma told a Youth Day celebration yesterday in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Mandela’s health had shown improvement despite him still being in a serious condition.

“We are grateful that he continues to get better. Over the past two days, although his condition remains serious, his doctors have stated that his improvement has been sustained,” Zuma said.

The president, accompanied by ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, visited Mandela on Thursday.

Well-wishers left flags, flowers, balloons and get-well-soon cards at the entrance to the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital in Pretoria.

Colourful messages were printed on large pieces of paper and cardboard attached to the hospital’s wall next to the security checkpoint.

Two flags were tied on to the hospital’s security wall along Celliers Street.

A message on one of the flags read: “The long walk to freedom continues.”

Several multicoloured balloons were also swinging next to the flags and bouquets of flowers lined the pavement.

Security remained tight outside the hospital.

Today, several police officers were searching all vehicles entering the facility’s two entrances.

A contingent of local and international media continued to monitor the entrances.

Members of the Mandela family visited the ailing icon on Father’s Day.

Mandela’s former wife and ANC MP, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Mandela’s granddaughter Zaziwe were at the hospital yesterday.

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