Both media and well wishers alike had to contend with a fresh batch of security for Nelson Mandela. Tape and barricades enclosed the immediate area, and vehicle searches by police have become a routine measure at the Pretoria hospital where the 94 year old is staying.
Mandela’s beloved status, while earning him the fierce loyalty of many, has also led many to call for his peace from prying eyes. One of the top voices in this camp is Denis Goldberg, a longtime political ally of Mandela who also was given a life sentence in the 1960s. Goldberg pointed out that new leaders are perfectly capable of emulating Mandela’s style and ensuring that South Africa could endure.
This practical view has yet to deter well wishers. The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation asked for prayers for Mandela’s well-being. It referred to the former President as the father of the nation and a gift. Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Mandela stayed at the former leader’s bedside for an hour. Mandela’s daughters also took time to visit their ailing father. Zindziwa, 52, spoke to the South African Guardian and said that when she saw her father he was well, citing his long standing reputation as a fighter.
South African media in particular remains pensive on how to report on Mandela. One newspaper claimed that Mandela’s home village was experiencing the creation of makeshift bed and breakfasts by residents in the event of the former leader’s passing. The grim mood is not entirely unjustified, given Mandela’s history of respiratory problems. A long stretch of imprisonment left Mandela ill with tuberculosis, which has impacted his overall health ever since.
Being that this is Mandela’s fourth hospital stay since December, South Africa may well take more time to appreciate the man who brought the country so much through long sacrifice.
[Image Via National Post]