Nelson Mandela on life support, condition improving - KMSP-TV

Nelson Mandela on life support, condition improving

Posted: Updated:
(FOX NEWS) -

Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid activist who spent 27 years in prison before becoming that country's first black president, has been placed on life support, but is improving.

The treatment the 94-year-old Mandela is currently receiving includes a ventilator to assist his breathing, as well as renal dialysis. The family has been given the option of stopping that treatment.

Family members arrived at the Pretoria hospital where Mandela is being treated and briefly spoke to the media gathered outside. Ndileka Mandela said that her grandfather's condition was "critical but stable." She also said the presence of supporters outside the hospital was a "comfort" to the family.

South African President Jacob Zuma also visited the hospital Thursday, one day after canceling a planned trip out of the country.

"I canceled my visit to Mozambique today so that I can 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, " President Zuma said.

Zuma had visited Mandela on Wednesday night and canceled a visit planned for the following day to Mozambique, an indication of heightened concern over the deteriorating health of the man widely considered the father of the country.

Mandela was originally hospitalized June 8 for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.

South Africans were torn on Wednesday between the desire not to lose Mandela, who defined the aspirations of so many of his compatriots, and resignation that the beloved former prisoner and president is approaching the end of his life.

The sense of anticipation and foreboding about Mandela's fate has grown since late Sunday, when the South African government declared that the condition of the statesman had deteriorated.

A tide of emotional tributes has built on social media and in hand-written messages and flowers laid outside the hospital and Mandela's home. On Wednesday, about 20 children from a day care center posted a hand-made card outside the hospital and recited a poem.

"Hold on, old man," was one of the lines in the Zulu poem, according to the South African Press Association.

In recent days, international leaders, celebrities, athletes and others have praised Mandela, not just as the man who steered South Africa through its tense transition from white racist rule to democracy two decades ago, but as a universal symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation.

In South Africa's Eastern Cape province, where Mandela grew up, a traditional leader said the time was near for Mandela, who is also known by his clan name, Madiba.

"I am of the view that if Madiba is no longer enjoying life, and is on life support systems, and is not appreciating what is happening around him, I think the good Lord should take the decision to put him out of his suffering," said the tribal chief, Phathekile Holomisa.

"I did speak to two of his family members, and of course, they are in a lot of pain, and wish that a miracle might happen, that he recovers again, and he becomes his old self again," he said. "But at the same time they are aware there is a limit what miracles you can have."

For many South Africans, Mandela's decline is a far more personal matter, echoing the protracted and emotionally draining process of losing one of their own elderly relatives.

One nugget of wisdom about the arc of life and death came from Matthew Rusznyah, a 9-year-old boy who stopped outside Mandela's home in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton to show his appreciation.

"We came because we care about Mandela being sick, and we wish we could put a stop to it, like snap our fingers," he said. "But we can't. It's how life works."

His mother, Lee Rusznyah, said Mandela had made the world a better place.

"All of us will end," Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. "We just want him to be peacefully released, whatever he's feeling at this moment, and to be reunited with his Maker at the perfect time, when God so wills."

The archbishop said: "Ultimately, we are all mortal. At some stage or another, we all have to die, and we have to move on, we have to be recalled by our Maker and Redeemer. We have to create that space for Madiba, to come to terms within himself, with that journey."

On Tuesday, Makgoba visited Mandela and offered a prayer in which he wished for a "peaceful, perfect, end" for the anti-apartheid leader, who was taken to the Pretoria hospital to be treated for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.

In the prayer, he asked for courage to be granted to Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, and others who love him "at this hard time of watching and waiting," and he appealed for divine help for the medical team treating Mandela.

Visitors to the hospital on Wednesday included Mandela's former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The couple divorced in 1996.

Mandela, whose 95th birthday is on July 18, served a single five-year term as president and afterward focused on charitable causes, but he withdrew from public life years ago and became increasingly frail in recent years. He last made a public appearance in 2010 at the World Cup soccer tournament, which was hosted by South Africa. At that time, he did not speak to the crowd and was bundled against the cold in a stadium full of fans.

On April 29, state television broadcast footage of a visit by Zuma and other leaders of the ruling party, the African National Congress, to Mandela's home. Zuma said at the time that Mandela was in good shape, but the footage — the first public images of Mandela in nearly a year — showed him silent and unresponsive, even when Zuma tried to hold his hand.

"Let's accept instead of crying," said Lucas Aedwaba, a security officer in Pretoria who described Mandela as a hero. "Let's celebrate that the old man lived and left his legacy."

Greg Palkot contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/06/27/family-member-mandela-on-life-support/#ixzz2XPvIGfWY

Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices