UK rugby players pay respects to Mandela

2013-07-09 13:32
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - Rugby players from Kings College in Wimbledon, London, who were on a two-week rugby tour, came to the hospital to pay their respects to the ailing anti-apartheid icon, on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela was spending his 32nd day in hospital on Tuesday. He was admitted on 8 June with a recurring lung infection.

"We came to the hospital to experience the appreciation people of South Africa are showing Mandela," said Theo Stanley.

Mandela's ill-health had made news around the world. Some of the rugby players said they did not fully understand the impact his hospital stay had had on them until Tuesday, when they read the messages left by well-wishers.

"I originally thought it didn't affect me, while I was back in London, but being here and seeing how the nation is reacting is overwhelming," said Tom Middlehurst.

Middlehurst added that seeing the story in the news did not really indicate the magnitude and impact Mandela had on the country and the world.

They said the story was receiving wide media coverage in England, with a lot of questions being asked about the country's future after his death.

"People back home are wishing him a speedy recovery, but there is also interest in how the country will react to his death," Mark Fuller said.

Family time

Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and his daughter Makaziwe Mandela arrived at the Pretoria hospital, where he is being treated, on Tuesday.

Bathembu chief Bovulengwe Mfundo Mtirara also came to visit Madiba at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital.

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