Hospitalised Mandela in the nation’s prayers

2012-12-10 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Across the country, South Africans had former president Nelson Mandela in their thoughts yesterday, and by last night it seemed that he was doing as well in hospital as could be expected for a frail 94-year-old.

In churches, prayers were offered for his health. One of the more emotional services was held at Regina Mundi church in Johannesburg, strongly linked with the anti-apartheid struggle.

Mandela is in a Pretoria hospital for a series of tests, but the government declined to identify the hospital for fear of a media frenzy outside.

To avoid the spread of unsubstantiated rumours, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj is in charge of official statements.

He declined to elaborate on the tests until they are complete, aside from saying they are not unusual for a person his age. Maharaj said President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela yesterday and found him “comfortable, and in good care”.

He said South Africa would be kept informed of any changes.

The first hint of Mandela’s condition came on Friday, when a visit to him by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was cancelled at short notice. Two groups of SANDF doctors left for Qunu on Friday and Saturday.

Numerous groups, including the ANC and Cosatu, wished Mandela well. 

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation sent this message: “Even in such mundane times as routine hospital visits, you allow South Africans from across the length and breadth of this country to unite in concern for you.”

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