Mandela’s latest health scare was splashed across the front pages of local newspapers but government officials have released no updates since announcing he was hospitalised in Pretoria early Saturday in a ‘serious but stable’ condition.
The congregation at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, a flashpoint during the anti-apartheid struggle, prayed for the 94-year-year-old national hero. “I am coming to church today with Madiba in my thoughts. I want him to get well,” said churchgoer Nokuthula Tshibasa.
It is the fourth hospital stay since December for the Nobel peace prize laureate, who turns 95 next month, after he was discharged in April following treatment for pneumonia.
South Africans are beginning to come to terms with the mortality of their first black president who is revered as the father of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ multi-race democracy.
“I mean Tata is 94. At 94 what do you expect?” said church goer Sannie Shezi using an affectionate term meaning father. “He lived his life, he worked for us. All we can say is God help him. If things happen they will happen, but we still love him.”
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said that Mandela was breathing on his own. “The truth of the matter is a simple one. Madiba is a fighter and at his age as long as he is fighting, he’ll be fine,” he said.