Madiba's health improving but still under watchful-eye of medics!

 “We are very happy with the progress that he is now making following a difficult last few days,” Zuma said in the National Assembly.

Mandela yesterday spent a fifth day at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

An information blackout on the true state of Mandela’s health has led to a speculation frenzy, which has culminated in calls for hourly updates on his condition.

Zuma, however, urged South Africans and the international community to continue praying for Mandela and his medical team.

He said he was happy with the progress Mandela had made so far.

“It is an honour for us as South Africans to share Madiba with the international community. We fully understand and appreciate the global interest in this world icon. We are so proud to call him our own.”

Zuma expressed gratitude for all the messages of support for Mandela that had come from all over the world.

In Mandela’s home province of Eastern Cape, traditional leaders prayed for the former president to live until he was 100.

Nkosi Mfundo Mtirara of the Madiba clan said: “We hope for him to reach 100 years at least” and that he should spend the same number of years he spent in prison (27) as a free man.

Mtirara disapproved of Mandela’s long-time friend Andrew Mlangeni’s calls for the struggle icon to be “released”.

Mlangeni told the Sunday Times at the weekend that it was unlikely Mandela would recover fully after being rushed to hospital for the fourth time in six months for the lung infection.

Mtirara yesterday said the family was optimistic Mandela’s health would improve.

“He is our father, we cannot say he must go. We are waiting and praying that he comes out of hospital alive and recovers soon.”

The chairman of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the King Sabata Dalindyebo district, Andile Nontso, said the Presidency should issue “hourly” updates on Mandela’s state of health to avoid anxiety and speculation.

“We pray that the information [from the Presidency] is a true reflection of his current state.

“He is loved by everybody and people deserve to know. We know that he is old but we want him to be well,” Nontso said.

After visiting him in hospital yesterday, Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, thanked South Africans and the “global community” for their support and prayers.

Speaking outside the Nobel laureate’s Houghton home, he said: “We are grateful my grandfather continues to have support from the Presidency and the ANC-led government, who have ensured they look after him.

“We want to thank the doctors that have worked around the clock to ensure they look after him while he is in the hospital.

“We are particularly honoured to have received the many prayers and messages from South Africans at large as well as the global community.

“We want to say thank you and to say we appreciate all the support you show towards our grandfather and your father.”

Good wishes for Mandela continued to pour in, with spiritual leader the Dalai Lama urging others to follow the ideals of Mandela.

The Dalai Lama, speaking in New Zealand, said anti-apartheid icons such as Mandela and Desmond Tutu were ageing and frail and “logically they are going to go”.

“The important thing is to preserve his memory. Nelson Mandela is very ill, Desmond Tutu [is] also quite old … The important thing is their teaching, their spirit, must carry on.

“I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that and to see they inspire even after they have gone,” the Tibetan leader said. 


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