Churchgoers pray for Nelson Mandela

A local reverend in the town Madiba went to school in has asked members of his church to pray for Madiba.

A local reverend in the town Madiba went to school in has asked members of his church to pray for Madiba.

MQHEKEZWENI - As former president Nelson Mandela spends Father's Day in at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria an Eastern Cape reverend said on Sunday he has asked church groups to pray for him.

The ailing former statesman is being treated at the facility for a recurring lung infection.

This is the fourth time since December that he has been admitted to hospital.

In the remote village of Mqhekezweni surrounded by rolling hills and thatched huts Reverend Wellington Manciya rang a rusty old bell before beginning the service at the local Methodist Church.

Mqhekezweni is where Madiba spent his most formative years.

He went to school in the village, which is now a small structure that has peeling white walls and a red roof.

Reverend Manciya said his congregation in the village have been praying for the former president's good health.

"I have requested the societies have a time especially given to prayer for Tata Mandela."

VISITS ON FATHER'S DAY

Madiba's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and his daughter Zindzi paid him a visit at the Pretoria hospital on Father's Day.

Winnie and Zindzi were preceded by Madiba's other daughter Makaziwe.

The three were some of the only visitors who arrived to see the former statesman on Father's Day so far.

His granddaughter Ndileka Mandela arrived at the facility earlier. She was the first visitor on Sunday morning.

But more members of his family are expected to arrive later.

Although security at the hospital remains tight and there's less media, police are still searching every car at both gates.

Meanwhile, speaking at Youth Day celebrations in KwaZulu-Natal earlier on Sunday President Jacob Zuma said Madiba's health is showing sustained improvement.