South Africa's Mandela remains critical, responds to treatment

JOHANNESBURG Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:20pm EDT

1 of 7. South African President Jacob Zuma addresses editors at the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) in Johannesburg June 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Former South African president Nelson Mandela remained in a critical but stable condition and was responding to treatment, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday after visiting the anti-apartheid hero in a Pretoria hospital.

Mandela, whose 95th birthday is on July 18, has been receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection that has led to four hospital stays in the past six months.

Several of Mandela's comrades in the anti-apartheid struggle gathered at Liliesleaf Farm outside of Johannesburg on Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of a police raid that led to their arrests, which dealt a heavy blow in the battle to end white-minority rule.

Mandela had been in jail for a separate conviction at the time of the farm raid but was named as "accused number one" in a conspiracy plot when those arrested at Liliesleaf were brought to court in what is known as the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela had previously evaded apartheid police by posing as a caretaker and hiding out at Liliesleaf.

Many of Mandela's comrades lamented the precarious state of the man who was a giant in the struggle.

"It's a sad coincidence that he can't be with us and that he is in hospital today," said Bob Hepple, who was initially charged of plotting with Mandela to overthrow the apartheid regime.

Mandela and several others were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. They later won their release and struck a deal that brought about all-race elections in 1994 that ended apartheid

Mandela has spent more than a month in hospital. His eldest daughter Makaziwe said in a court document filed in June that her father was breathing with the aid of life-support machines.

The failing health of South Africa's first black president, a figure admired globally as a symbol of struggle against injustice, has reinforced a realization that the father of the post-apartheid state will not be around forever.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Ndundu Sithole; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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Comments (3)
Doc62 wrote:
Mandela will be dead soon. Will Obama send a token white by to the funeral? Hell yes, Joe(git me shotgun)Biden.

Jul 11, 2013 11:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Says a friend of mine currently visiting South Africa on a Mandela pilgrimage: “Word here is that he will be left on life support until his birthday next week, and then it will be goodby….”
My friend doesn’t think Mandela’s death will result in upset on the streets, however, MACLEAN’s Magazine reporter Stephanie Findlay, in the June 24 edition, writes that dead Afrikaner white prophet Siener van Rensburg predicted a century ago “something like this: The day a prominent black leader dies, racial peace in South Africa in south Africa will end and blacks will kill all whites in the country.
“To be clear it is a legend. Still, the fear of cataclysm upon Mandela’s death isn’t far off. Mandela is the living embodiment of the country’s greatness, its triumph over tyranny. Without him, South Africa has to face the uncomfortable reality that the greatness he promised is far from fruition.”

Jul 11, 2013 11:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MACLEAN’s Magazine reporter Stephanie Findlay, in the June 24 edition, writes that dead Afrikaner white prophet Siener van Rensburg predicted a century ago “something like this: The day a prominent black leader dies, racial peace in South Africa in south Africa will end and blacks will kill all whites in the country.
“To be clear it is a legend. Still, the fear of cataclysm upon Mandela’s death isn’t far off. Mandela is the living embodiment of the country’s greatness, its triumph over tyranny. Without him, South Africa has to face the uncomfortable reality that the greatness he promised is far from fruition.”

Jul 11, 2013 11:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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