South Africa’s president on Tuesday urged his compatriots to show their appreciation for Nelson Mandela, who is in critical condition in a hospital, by marking his 95th birthday next month with acts of goodness that honor the legacy of the anti-apartheid leader.
The office of President Jacob Zuma said Mandela’s condition remained unchanged after reporting late Sunday that his health had deteriorated to critical, alarming many South Africans as well as people around the world who regard the former president as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation.
South African media, meanwhile, reported that members of Mandela’s family held a meeting at his rural home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province, where the anti-apartheid leader grew up. No details on what was discussed in the meeting were announced. As on previous days, other family members were seen visiting the hospital in Pretoria where the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is being treated.
Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule and became South Africa’s first black president in all-race elections in 1994, was taken to the hospital on June 8 to be treated for what the government described as a recurring lung infection. Zuma’s office said doctors were doing their best to ensure his recovery and comfort.
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