World awaits news on Madiba

All eyes will be on the Mediclinic Heart Hospital after Jacob Zuma's visit on Friday.

People continue to show their support outside MediClini Heart Hospital in Pretoria where former president Nelson Mandela is receiving treatment for recurring lung infection. Picture:Christa Van der Walt/EWN

PRETORIA - The world is waiting for any news of Nelson Mandela's health on Friday morning after a series of highs and lows this week.

All eyes will be on the Mediclinic Heart Hospital again when President Jacob Zuma visits the former president later.

Madiba's condition put the country on edge when it was verified that he was on life support.

Speculation and fears further mounted when Zuma cancelled a trip to Mozambique after visiting Madiba in the hospital on Wednesday night.

However the Presidency later revealed Madiba's condition had improved but remained serious.

The global icon has spent nearly three weeks in hospital where he's being treated for a recurring lung infection.

The Mandela family has repeatedly requested relatives and the former president's right to privacy be respected.


Meanwhile, former Minister in the Presidency Frank Chikane has recalled how he first met Mandela soon after he was released from prison.

"What struck me about him was that he spoke to me as if he had known me for a long time, he talked about my wife whom he had never seen and referred to her by name, he also talked about my boys and referred to them by name and I thought this was extraordinary."

Pastor Ray McCauley says he prays that Mandela's family be at peace with God's will.

"My message to the family is that they will be in peace, united and in harmony and that they will sense a real spirit in their lives and be at peace with the fact that he's in God's hands."

Spiritual leaders were joined by dozens of members of the Grace Bible Church, Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau and other leaders of the South African National Council of Churches.

At the same time, a Soweto man says he joined hundreds of other residents at a night vigil in the township because he wanted to give his support to the Mandela family.

"We can't let him lie in bed in hospital and not do anything so we're pulling out all stops to make sure the family feels comforted during this difficult time."

Another man was at a night vigil in Soweto attended by hundreds of people.

He says the vigil was to show support for the Mandela family.

"It's important for us to gather here and call on the spirits of our former revolutionaries to give the Mandela family support."


Unlike Mandela's Houghton home, there has been little activity at his residence in Qunu since a family meeting on Tuesday.

Aside from the workmen and employees who enter and leave the property there has been little activity.

While there hasn't been a stream of well-wishers arriving at the house, people here remain concerned about the former President's health.

Media attention this week has focused on what's believed to be a gravesite on the property.

Men have been seen clearing the grounds around the area.

A decision to move the graves of several Mandela family members from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011 has reportedly caused discontent within the Mandela clan.


Meanwhile, ANC National Chairperson Baleka Mbete says South Africans have a responsibility to ensure they uphold Nelson Mandela's legacy.

Mbete says Madiba is a people's man.

"Tata is a parent and as an elder he knows how to give advice."

Khayelitsha resident, Nomvuyo Mbana Pakade believes the former president is in need of prayer.

"This is the best way to express how we feel because we're also in pain."