Daughter: Mandela Opens Eyes, Smiles At News Of Obama’s S. Africa Visit

Source: Keir Simmons and Charlayne Hunter-Gault / NBC News

PRETORIA, South Africa – Nelson Mandela “opened his eyes” and smiled after being told of President Barack Obama’s imminent visit to South Africa, his daughter said Tuesday, adding to speculation that the two men might meet.

The 94-year-old remains in a critical condition, South Africa’s government said Tuesday as relatives gathered at his home for a family meeting that local media reports described as “urgent.”

The anti-apartheid campaigner and democracy icon has been in hospital with a lung infection since June 8. His condition was downgraded over the weekend from “serious but stable” to “critical.”

Obama is due to leave Wednesday for Senegal, his first stop in a tour of Africa, before heading to South Africa on Friday.

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