Birthday wishes for Mandela at hospital

2013-07-18 14:30
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Birthday celebrations outside hospital

As Nelson Mandela spends his 95th birthday hospitalised in Pretoria, well wishers gather to sing to him outside the hospital. See the latest photos.

Pretoria - Crowds of well-wishers gathered outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Thursday morning to wish former president Nelson Mandela a happy 95th birthday.

A variety of renditions of "Happy Birthday" were sung at the Celliers Street entrance to the hospital.
Pupils of Tsosoloso Special School in Soshanguve, accompanied by their conductor Marcus Khumalo, were among the first to arrive and sang "Happy birthday Mandela wa rona" (Happy birthday our Mandela).

"I brought the children here because they were eager to wish Mandela a happy birthday," said Khumalo.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement earlier that Mandela's health was steadily improving.

Thursday was Mandela's 41st day in the hospital, where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

A group of nurses from a nearby hospital came to sing "Nelson Mandela, there is no one like you", before reporting for duty.

A minibus of people aged between 50 and 70 came from Thembisa to drop off birthday cards and flowers at a wall of well-wishes outside the hospital, where Mandela was admitted on 8 June.

Security was increased at the Celliers Street entrance, with more Tshwane metro police officers manning cordoned off areas.

Traffic through the streets was restricted, and officers were letting through only cars belonging to residents and the media.

Bus-loads of tourists slowed down near the hospital to allow foreigners to take pictures of the growing, smiling crowds.

There were also more media outside the hospital. Reporters were doing live crossings and were interviewing well-wishers.

A 6-year-old boy clutching a container told a reporter: "I brought cake for Mandela for his birthday."
Read more on:    nelson mandela

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