'Madiba in serious but stable condition'

Activist Ahmed Kathrada says he hopes Madiba will live for a long time.

Nelson Mandela is aided by his wife, Graca Machel prior to the inauguration ceremony for President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Picture: AFP

EWN's Barry Bateman reports via Google Hangouts from outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria this morning.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada said on Wednesday he's praying for the former president to get well.

Kathrada served 26 years as a political prisoner alongside Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.

"I'm praying he will be with us because we still need his presence and wisdom. We hope he will be with us for a long time."

Kathrada said Madiba made the world a better place.

"He's made many statements, in 1997 he said our freedom isn't complete if Palestinians are not free."


More media have been flocking to Madiba's hometown of Qunu and the main town of Umthatha in Eastern Cape.

The Nelson Mandela Museum overlooks many settlements dotted along the hills of Madiba's hometown.

The museum's staff said they have room should there be a sudden influx of tourists.

Meanwhile, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts are filling up fast as local and foreign journalists are speaking to residents and are hoping to find family members close to the elderly statesman.

One guesthouse owner said more bookings are made and she's expecting a busy few weeks ahead.


While support has been coming in from around the world, one particular man from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has taken supporting the icon to a new level.

Redo Mamboleo remembers petitioning for the release of Mandela in his home country.

"I was a student and we signed a petition to free Mandela."

Mamboleo has been visiting the Pretoria hospital every day since Madiba was admitted on Saturday.

However his love for Madiba stretches further than that and he has even named one of his children after the icon.

"I want him to be like Mandela and I tell him every day to be a good man like Mandela."

He said he will continue to visit the facility for as long as Madiba is there.

At the same time, more relatives are expected to visit the global icon.

The former president remains in a serious but stable condition.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma moved to assure the nation Madiba is stable.

The 94-year-old statesman was admitted to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria for a recurring lung infection.

Relatives continue to visit him in hospital including his daughter and Argentinian Ambassador, Zenani.

His wife Graca Machel and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela have also been at his side.

Zuma said he was confident the former statesman is receiving the best care.