Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, remained in a critical condition in a Pretoria hospital as a Johannesburg newspaper reported family members and advisers had called a meeting at his rural home.
“Former President Nelson Mandela’s condition remains unchanged in hospital and doctors continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort,” the Presidency said in an e-mailed statement today.
Mandela’s health deteriorated during the weekend after spending more than two weeks in the hospital receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection. The Nobel Peace prize winner, who will turn 95 on July 18, was admitted to the intensive care unit on June 8 -- his fourth time in a hospital since December.
“We must support him and support his family,” President Jacob Zuma said in the statement. “We must demonstrate our love and appreciation for his leadership during the struggle for liberation and in our first few years of freedom and democracy by living out his legacy and promoting unity, non-racialism, non-sexism and prosperity in our country.”
Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe, called a meeting to discuss “sensitive matters” today in Qunu, Eastern Cape, the Johannesburg-based Sowetan reported, citing people it didn’t identify.
Mandela became the nation’s first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for fighting white minority rule. Most of his imprisonment was spent on Robben Island where he contracted tuberculosis. Mandela stepped down in 1999 after a five-year term as president.
Zuma called for Mandela and his family to “be accorded the necessary sensitivity, dignity and privacy at this time.”
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