Visitors gather outside Mandela's home

2013-06-10 16:54
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Two young girls accompanied by their mother left proteas outside former president Nelson Mandela's Houghton home in Johannesburg on Monday.

They left cards saying "Dear Madiba. Get better soon. Love Megan [7]", and "You've done so much already, now rest".

The girls were among visitors who came to the house to wish the ailing icon well.

Houghton resident Bernice Sussman, 87, said she wanted to know when she could see her "friend Nelson".

Sussman and her helper, Martina Lebese, said Mandela and his wife, Graca, would take a walk around the Houghton suburb and visit Sussman for lunch during his healthier days.

A Nigerian tourist also visited the house.

Iyabode Ogunseye was on holiday and came to see where the former president lived.

"You can't come to South Africa and not see where Mandela lives."

She said Nigerians were also concerned about Mandela's health.

"Nigeria loves him. Nobody is ready to say goodbye," she said.

Mziwenkosi Tantsi, 29, a driver who works next door to the Mandela Houghton residence, showed journalists camped outside the house a photo of him and the ailing icon.

The photo was taken inside the house in 2010 when Tantsi got the opportunity, through Mandela's grandson Ndaba, to meet him.

"It was like seeing heaven with my own eyes," Tantsi said in isiZulu.

"It was a dream come true to meet him. I touched his hand and didn't wash it for two weeks. It just felt wrong."

Tantsi said he was not ready for Mandela to go.

"I'm not ready [for him to go]. He must leave when things are fixed because things aren't good right now," he said.

Condition ‘unchanged’

Earlier, the presidency said Mandela's condition was "unchanged".

"Former president Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged. Madiba was admitted on Saturday, 8 June 2013, for treatment in a Pretoria hospital for a lung infection," the presidency said.

"President Jacob Zuma reiterates his call for South Africa to pray for Madiba and the family during this time."

This was the first update in more than 48 hours since the presidency announced on Saturday morning that Mandela was in a "serious but stable" condition after being admitted to a Pretoria hospital in the early hours of that morning.

The media continued camping outside his house in Houghton and a Pretoria hospital where he was believed to be admitted.

Mandela has been in and out of hospital in the past few years. At the end of March and in April this year he spent nine days in hospital receiving treatment for recurring lung problems.

Earlier in March, he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up and was discharged the following day.

In December last year, Mandela underwent an operation to remove gallstones and treat the recurring lung infection.

He was discharged after an 18-day stay and placed under home-based high-care at his Houghton home.

Surgery

In January, the presidency said Mandela had made a full recovery from the surgery and continued to improve. In February last year he was admitted to hospital for a stomach ailment.

In January 2011, a virtual void of information marked Mandela's admission to Johannesburg specialist care Milpark Hospital. With very little information to go on at that time, speculation was rife and reports of his death started running on social networks.

Finally, on 28 January, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Surgeon General Vejaynand Ramlakan addressed a media briefing on his health.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which customarily managed publicity for Mandela, only broke its silence on Monday, 31 January 2011.

This was after then Sunday Independent editor Makhudu Sefara wrote an item called "The making of an unnecessary crisis".

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg

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