Qunu residents hope for Madiba’s return

2013-03-29 15:14

The residents of Qunu in the Eastern Cape hope former president Nelson Mandela will return to his childhood village, a local guide from the Madiba clan has said.

“They miss him a lot, especially the older ones,” said Zimsile Gamakulu.

“They hope that he may come back home.”

News of Mandela’s ill health was slow to reach the village.

“Most of the people in the village don’t know even that he is in hospital,” Gamakulu said.

Mandela was spending a second day in hospital today after responding positively to treatment for a lung infection, the latest health scare for the revered anti-apartheid icon.

South African presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said there was no update on the condition of the frail 94-year-old, who was admitted to hospital just before midnight on Wednesday.

President Jacob Zuma sought yesterday to reassure South Africans that Mandela was in good hands as his doctors reported some progress in his treatment.

“The country must not panic. Madiba is fine,” Zuma told the BBC.

“The doctors advise that former president Nelson Mandela is responding positively to the treatment he is undergoing for a recurring lung infection,” Zuma’s office said in a short statement yesterday.

A presidency statement released today said the former head of state had eaten a full breakfast this morning and that he was making steady progress.

The Nobel peace laureate was conscious when he was admitted, Maharaj said.

It is the second time this month that Mandela has been admitted to hospital.

This followed a nearly three-week hospital stay in December, when Mandela was treated for another lung infection and underwent gallstone surgery, after which he was released for home-based care.

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