Public curious about Mandela

2013-06-12 21:56
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Pretoria - People passing the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela is being treated were increasingly curious about his health on Wednesday.

Most motorists drove slowly past the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, looking at the police contingent at the entrance and the media scrum across the street.

Pedestrians stopped briefly next to the group of photographers focusing their lenses on the hospital entrance.

An aged man, who only identified himself as Bra Themba, said he travelled from Johannesburg hoping to see the ailing Madiba.

“What harm would I do by just seeing him? He is a people’s person and I thought those policemen would understand that," he said, referring to the officers at the hospital's entrance.

"I continue to pray for him," he added.

School children used cellphones to photograph the journalists, the hospital and the police officers. Grade 8 pupil Stella Chavi said she would “update” her classmates.

“We want to know how he is responding to medication. I tell them how the situation at the hospital is like and I have the pictures on my phone. Even my teacher wanted to see the pictures yesterday,” she said with a grin.

“All we want is for him to recover. He did a lot for this country and we cannot replace him. Who doesn’t love Mandela?”

Another passer-by, Mihe Nadeem Ahmed, was willing to go to extremes to help Mandela.

“I am prepared to sacrifice any part of my body for the old man. He is of a rare type and I would be honoured to give him blood or any part of my body,” Ahmed said.

Graça and Mandla visit

Mandela’s wife Graça Machel and his grandson Mandla arrived at the Pretoria hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

Photographers rushed into the busy street as a Mercedes Benz ferrying Machel, followed by Mandla's black Toyota Land Cruiser entered the premises.

Another grandson, Ndaba, was at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital earlier in the day.

Mandela's eldest daughter Zenani, who is the South Africa's ambassador to Argentina, was still at the hospital.

She came home this week following her father's admission. The ailing icon was spending his fifth day in hospital.

On Monday, the presidency’s Mac Maharaj said President Jacob Zuma would visit Mandela at “an appropriate time”.

He refuted claims suggesting the Mandela family had barred ANC and government officials from visiting Madiba.

"It's very unfortunate that one particular newspaper chose to run with that as a headline... There are restrictions which arise from the fact that Madiba is under intensive care. Those are medical restrictions to control movement of people [to exclude the] possibility of visitors bringing infection into the environment,” said Maharaj.

On Tuesday, Mandela's ex-wife, ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and another of his children, Makaziwe Mandela, were at the hospital.

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