Democracy icon Nelson Mandela was “very critical” and “anything is imminent”,his eldest daughter said,even as South African President Jacob Zuma today cancelled a trip to Mozambique as the anti-apartheid leader remains on life support in a hospital. “I re-iterate that Tata (father) is very critical that anything is imminent,” Makaziwe Mandela said as the Mandela family gathered at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital to visit the peace icon who has been admitted since June 8 for a recurring lung ailment.
“But I want to emphasise again that it’s only God who knows when the time to go is and so we will wait with him,with Tata,as long for us as a family,he’s still giving us hope opening his eyes he’s still reactive to touch we will live with that hope until the final end comes,” she said.
As the eyes of the world remain fixed on the health condition of the 94-year-old peace hero,Zuma said Mandela’s medical team told him that the former president “remains critical but is now stable.”
Mandela’s “condition has improved during the course of the night,” Zuma said in a statement after visiting him for a second time in 24 hours in the Pretoria hospital. “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 hospitalised,” Zuma said using Mandela’s clan name.
The presidency also urged people to refrain from spreading rumours about the former president’s condition. Mandela,respected across the globe as a symbol of resistance against injustice,had a long history of lung problems,dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid.
While in jail he contracted tuberculosis. Mandela is revered for leading the fight against white minority rule in the African country and then preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years. Mandela,regarded the founding father of South Africa’s multiracial democracy,served as the country’s first black president from 1994 to 1999.
He left power after five years as president. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He retired from public life in 2004 and has not been seen in public since the football World Cup finals in in 2010. Mandela turns 95 on July 18.