Qunu prays for a 'Mandela miracle'

2013-06-13 20:22
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Qunu - Qunu is praying for a miracle for Nelson Mandela, one of the former president's neighbours said on Thursday.

"We are following the news about Madiba's condition on the television," Nokuzola Soyaya, 42, said.

"We always know when he has been sent to hospital, because that is when the journalists come.

"We are praying for a miracle for him."

Television film crews and reporters have been filing into Qunu and nearby Mthatha since Mandela was admitted to hospital with a lung infection on Saturday.

Road construction staff have been working around the clock in the past week, preparing the N2 highway around Qunu.

Much of the highway has been dug up and traffic is being diverted over dirt tracks.

Mthatha Airport has also been upgraded "to the extent that a Boeing 747 can land on the runway", Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday.

"The Mthatha airport is expected to see the most traffic, and planes may have to let passengers disembark and go elsewhere to park," the newspaper reported.

"It has been generally accepted that the real reason for the upgrade was that Mandela’s hometown Qunu is close to the Mthatha airport."


Guest houses in Mthatha have reported normal business despite the influx of local and foreign journalists.

"I heard about the so-called rush to Mthatha and Qunu, but it has been nothing much for us," said a guesthouse owner in Mthatha.

By late on Thursday, a Qunu resident who asked to be identified only as Albert, said he was relieved to hear on the radio that Madiba "is doing better".

"We pray for the best," he said, standing next to the Mandela clan graveyard as he spoke to a friend.

One of Mandela's cousins, Florence Mandela, 96, will be buried in Qunu on Saturday.

Four young Qunu men, working with picks and spades on a track in the village, said they were preparing for the funeral, which would be held nearby.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  east london

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