by NewsOne Staff
UPDATE: 8:52 A.M. EST 06/27/13:
According to President Jacob Zuma, Nelson Mandela’s health has improved.
Read statement below:
President Jacob Zuma visited former President Nelson Mandela in hospital in Pretoria today, 27 June, and was informed by the medical team that Madiba’s condition has improved during the course of the night. He remains critical but is now stable.“I cancelled my visit to Mozambique today so that I could see him and confer with the doctors. He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job. We must pray for Tata’s health and wish him well. We must also continue with our work and daily activities while Madiba remains hospitalized, ’’ President Zuma said.The Presidency is disturbed by the rumors that are being spread about former President Mandela’s health. We appeal for respect for the privacy and dignity of the former President.
UPDATE: 7:11 A.M. EST, 06/27/13:
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A daughter of Nelson Mandela says he is in very critical condition but is still opening his eyes and reacting to touch at the South African hospital where he is being treated.
Makaziwe Mandela told South Africa’s state broadcaster on Thursday that the former president and anti-apartheid leader is still giving the family hope, even though “anything is imminent.”
She says her family will wait with 94-year-old Mandela until “the time to go.”
From Senegal, President Barack Obama said, “Mandela is ‘a hero for the world. His legacy will linger on through the ages.”
UPDATE: 6:08 A.M. EST:
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has been kept on a life-support system following deterioration of his health condition at a South African hospital where the 94-year-old leader was admitted three weeks ago with a recurring lung infection.
“Ailing former President Nelson Mandela is on life support in the Pretoria Heart Clinic where he has been fighting a recurrent lung infection since June 8,” The Citizen’ newspaper reported.
According to the paper, five highly-placed sources close to the family, including two who had recently visited him in hospital, said that the iconic leader’s health has deteriorated to the point where he is breathing with the assistance of a life support ventilator.
The revelation came as a group of elders of the AbaThembu clan, to which critically ill Mandela belongs, will assess his condition during a visit to his hospital today to decide on a course of action, according to the daily The Times here.
Another source told the daily that Mandela is suffering from kidney failure and is undergoing renal dialysis for three hours every second day.
“He is critical, but has an entire team of doctors, from a cardiac specialist, pulmonary specialist, kidney specialist and a main consultant looking after him,” the source said, adding that the doctors have given the family the option to switch off the life support machines.
A meeting was called yesterday by Mandela’s eldest daughter Makaziwe at his ancestral home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province during which it was decided that that the elders and Mandela’s confidantes would visit Mandela at the hospital.
The Afrikaans daily Beeld reported that two hours after the Mandela family meeting, a grave-digging machine was parked near the proposed graveyard where Mandela is likely to be buried.
However, reports from the Presidency only confirmed that Mandela remains in a critical conditions. As South Africans steeled themselves for the worst, the family turned to prayer.
Relatives met in his home of Qunu while an archbishop led his family in prayer, calling for “a quiet night and a peaceful, perfect, end” for the former president.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba joined the family at the hospital.
In Pretoria, as huge crowds began gathering to pray and show support for Madiba, as he is affectionately known by millions, police reinforcements had to be called in to block off areas around the hospital for safety reasons.
At Mandela’s original home in Vilakazi Street in Soweto, barricades has to be put up to control the influx of visitors.
Considered the founding father of South Africa’s democracy, Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid.
He was elected the nation’s first black president in 1994, four years after he was freed from prison.
– Associated Press