No word on Nelson Mandela 'routine tests'

2011-01-26 20:38

Johannesburg - A veil of silence was drawn late on Wednesday over the condition of former president Nelson Mandela who was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for "routine tests".

Staff at Milpark Hospital declined to speak to journalists who descended on the premises for news on the elder statesman.

By 19:30, the only formal word on the condition of 92-year-old Mandela remained a short statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson Sello Hatang around 16:15.

It stated: "We can confirm that Mr Mandela is at Milpark Hospital undergoing routine tests. He is in no danger and is in good spirits."

Hatang did not answer his cellphone for follow-up questions.

Mandela's daughter Makaziwi from his first wife Evelyn said: "You got the statement? No further comment."

Members of the Mandela family were seen coming and going at the hospital by reporters.

A staffer from the French news agency AFP saw Mandela's wife, Graça Machel, leaving the hospital around 17:30, with four other family members departing shortly after.

Makeshift barrier

At a far corner of the hospital, a makeshift barrier of green mesh was erected. Inside the area were VIP cars, presumably belonging to family members.

As night fell over Johannesburg, journalists, photographers and cameramen lined a nearby bridge outside the hospital.

A hospital official was expected to address them but this had not yet happened.

One of Mandela's grandsons was seen buying magazines and refreshments at the hospital eatery. Ndaba Mandela and his youngest brother were also seen near the barricaded area.

Mandela's long-time aide, Zelda la Grange, flanked by a bodyguard entered the barricaded area.

Hospital security remained on high alert, ushering wandering journalists to the bridge.

Blending in

Some journalists sat inside the hospital waiting area, blending with hospital visitors and patients. One journalist carrying a brown paper bag, was seen limping in an attempt to blend in with the ill.

A hospital nurse standing outside the main entrance was overheard saying: "I saw him being flown in (by helicopter) at 14:00."

Mandela's "routine tests" came a day after Archbishop Desmond Tutu told Sapa that Mandela was "frail".

"I saw him last week," Tutu said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"He was all right, I mean he's 92, man, you know. And he's frail."

Twitter abuzz

Twitter was abuzz on Wednesday evening with news of Mandela being admitted to hospital.

Sandiso Ngubane, @Sandiso_N, tweeted: "My thing is; why would family members from Qunu come to check Madiba out during his "routine check-up"? Sometimes spin is just that... Spin!"

Other tweets speculating about Mandela's health included Siphojanuary who tweeted: " why would the family and high profile people be visiting #Madiba in hospital if he just went for a routine check-up???!"

RanjeniM tweeted "having dinner at Nelson Mandela Square cos only place I can feel close to him now. That statue is somehow comforting #Madiba".

"Hope Mr Nelson Mandela is okay n it really is a routine check up!! I'm really woRried **praying hard**," wrote another twitter user Purplemooky.

Twitter user Norwin tweeted: "#Madiba not in ICU; family and friends seen chatting and laughing. Hospital security stepped up".

"If something happens to Nelson Mandela tonight or in a day or so, do I close shop and let my staff off for the day? 80 employees nationwide?" user WarrenRSmith said.


Earlier this month, a report circulated on the social network that the elder statesman had died.

It was condemned as malicious and insensitive by the African National Congress.

Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport said though the rumours were false, reliable sources had confirmed that Mandela's health had deteriorated.

In mid-January, a Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson said Mandela was well and on holiday with his wife Graça Machel.

  • Yucca - 2011-01-26 21:12


  • - 2011-01-26 21:13

    Go well old MAN go well

  • Stephen - 2011-01-26 21:16

    our thoughts are with madiba and his family at this time........

  • Perfume - 2011-01-26 21:28


  • cnd001wp - 2011-01-26 21:39

    You ran the race Baba and played your made humungous sacrifices, you and those who stood by you and today, we are who we are because you paved the way for us to be. I thank God for you. Whatever the reason, y u r now hospitalised, all's irrelevant because God's Will will prevail at the end. I rest your Life in the Hands of the Almighty.

      Brewster - 2011-01-26 22:46

      Well said cnd001wp. I'm with you on that one. Lets all pray for Madiba. May he be gracefull and peacefull till he goes to Heaven

  • Papi - 2011-01-26 21:47

    "GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE",It is very immoral to observe the situation of Tata with the EYES OF VULTURE, why would people want him "UNLUCK".Instead of him receiving the wishing well messages, he receives the "What ifs". Again, GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE, come lets join hands as Proudly Africans and wish him well and not bad luck. Papi Motela

  • pieterdutoit47 - 2011-01-26 21:58

    He built the foundation of what South Africa is today. Read it any way you like. Something still bothers me though:- "The Mandela Childrens Fund" Where is the comma supposed to be and where is it? Think hard and long about this and see if somebody did not make a little mistake somewhere. Sometimes I likes to sits, sometimes I likes to sits and thinks.

      barry.mcbride - 2011-01-27 01:00


  • Shamila - 2011-01-26 22:01

    All the best Mr Mandela! You are an inspiration to the World.

  • Piet - 2011-01-26 22:02


  • stanleyza - 2011-01-26 22:03

    Formaldehyde is quite a good spirit too.

  • Ponatshego - 2011-01-26 22:11

    ..i can only wish the old man good health,It will be a sad day for Africa should the worst happen to him..however if GOD happen to love him best i'll surely understand,and hope so will be his family...HE IS GREAT but he doesn't deserve any further suffering ,APARTHEID has cost him enough what we can't change we should just accept should circumstances arose

  • RussoJacks - 2011-01-26 22:12

    luv u tata.get well soon cz th world still needs u dsperately.

  • Bianca - 2011-01-26 22:13

    No, I can not and will not imagine life without Tata Madiba. He is the father of our Nation, he needs to be with us in 2012. I just pray God will protect him longer for us.

  • Elkita - 2011-01-26 22:26

    Darkwing is kommin.Hou die woordeboek by jou.Jy klink n bietjie vertraag.Is jy vertraag?Bye

      Shumba1979 - 2011-01-27 00:22

      Elkita, Jy is die tipe Afrikaner wat my skaam laat voel om een te wees. Die werklikheid is dat jy gebreinspoel is deur 'n politieke sisteem en Kerk, en nie die breinkrag gehad het om te besef dit gebeur nie. Kyk na ons eie geskiedenis as Afrikaners en realiseer dat ons boere kommandos ook "terroriste" was gedurende die Boere oorlog. Die feit dat ons geveg het vir wat ons gedink het was reg, bring ons in lyn met waarvoor Madiba geveg het. Die enigste ding wat vertraag is, is jou brein funksie. Lees 'n bietjie iets anders as Rooi Rose, of wat ook al julle verveelde, ongeleerde en laer klas huisvrouens deesdae lees. Just remember, if it was not for the great man Madiba, you and your sort would be six feet under by now. After 27 years in prison fighting for basic human rights to come out and not hold a grudge?!!? The man is a Saint! I will shed a tear if he ever passes away.

  • Robert - 2011-01-26 22:31


  • Totman - 2011-01-26 22:57

    We should use this funny-sore and afraid feeling that we now have in is all of us to good use and reunite. The time has come to re-think what we all are busy doing. Breaking up a country and nation that should be one. Let this be our sign to start working on the idea. If the worst happens, let it be confirmation that we may not fail. If he recovers, let we see it as an opportunity to show him we can. Yes, he also had his failures, like all of us, but he also has his goodness that we must follow. He is human like us, but he stand up and show us that we all can make a difference. On a personal note. I have done what I could. I ask God to decide and be with him and his family, but also to bless us with calmness and brotherly love in these times. To the people that disagree with this: you are in a very small minority. Please respect our feelings and rather not comment if you can't say something good. Thank you!

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