Collective sigh of relief greets news Nelson Mandela is responding better to treatment
However, few people in South Africa believe 95-year-old is now out of danger
Former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrives by car at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated, in Pretoria yesterday. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP.
There was a collective sigh of relief across South Africa yesterday after the news was announced that Nelson Mandela was responding better to treatment for a recurring lung infection.
Concerns had been growing about the former president’s health since he was admitted to hospital early on Saturday. Until yesterday, medical updates continued to describe his condition as serious but stable. However, the nation’s president, Jacob Zuma, delivered positive news to MPs in parliament in Cape Town ahead of a debate on the presidency’s budget vote.
“We are happy to report that former president Nelson Mandela is responding to treatment. We are happy with the progress he is making during these difficult days,” Mr Zuma said.
Mr Zuma went on to say his government appreciated the numerous messages of support coming in from all over the world for Mr Mandela, who, despite retiring from public life eight years ago, is still revered around the globe.
“It is a pleasure to share Madiba [Mr Mandela’s clan name] with the global community. We are proud to call him our own. We ask you to continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers,” he said.
While the positive news lifted the nation’s spirits, few people are taking it as a sign that Mr Mandela, who is 95 next month, is out of danger given his advanced age.
Security remained tight at the Pretoria hospital where he spent his fifth day under care, as family members continued to visit the Nobel Peace Prize winner throughout the day.
His grandchildren Ndaba, Zenani, Mandla, and wife Graça Machel were among those who visited the ailing statesman.
In a statement Mandla Mandela said his family was aware everyone saw Mr Mandela as their “father”, and they were “deeply touched” by the public’s reaction to his illness.