Zuma breaks into song for Mandela

2013-06-26 16:49
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma opened the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) conference on Wednesday with a rousing rendition of a song about former president Nelson Mandela, who is gravely ill.

Loosely translated from isiZulu, he sang: "We are walking a long distance, so said Nelson Mandela to his supporters."

Dipping his body into the song, as the red-clothed delegates harmonised and ululated, Zuma sang several refrains.

On Sunday, his office broke the news that Mandela was critically ill, after being in hospital with a recurring lung infection since 8 June.

When he finished the song, Zuma began his prepared speech.

Reuters reported that Zuma said Mandela's situation was unchanged.

"As he remains in a critical condition in hospital, we must keep him and the family in our thoughts and prayers every minute," he said.

He was addressing the conference in his capacity as ANC president.

Children sing

School children from around the Eastern Cape also sang and prayed for former president Nelson Mandela outside his home in Qunu on Wednesday afternoon.

The children, who are part of a programme run by the Nelson Mandela Leadership Institute, held a poster they had prepared for the 94-year-old former president.

Nokuzula Tatane, a spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, said the children were worried about Mandela and had wanted to come to the house to wish him well.

Family gather

Members of Mandela's family met at the house on Tuesday.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, who attended the meeting with the Mandela elders, Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela, his grandson Mandla Mandela, and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, said the purpose of the meeting was to brief the elders about Mandela's condition.

"With some family members living in Johannesburg and others in the Eastern Cape, it becomes important to make sure everyone is kept up to speed with the developments," Holomisa told the Mail & Guardian newspaper's website.

"One does not want to leave the elders behind."

Click here to see the video of Zuma singing.

 

Read more on:    nehawu  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  bantu holomisa  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  nelson mandela  |  johannesburg

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