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ANC Criticized Over Video of Ailing Nelson Mandela

Footage of Nelson Mandela looking frail and unsmiling while surrounded by laughing politicians has provoked accusations that he is being exploited by the South African government.

The first video of the former president in nearly nine months shows him in an armchair, his head propped up by a pillow, his legs on a footrest.

His face seems drained of colour, with his cheeks showing what appear to be marks from a recently removed oxygen mask.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Mandela was organized by the governing African National Congress, which has previously been criticized for secrecy around Mandela’s health.

There was a swift backlash from South Africans on Twitter, with many accusing the ANC of callously manipulating the 94-year-old.

Khaya Dlanga, a blogger and columnist, said the footage of Mandela being “paraded” in front of cameras reminded him of a photo taken on Robben Island. “He looked like a man who didn’t want to be there. Everyone around him was all smiles but him. It was so hard and painful to see.”

Twitter user Brent Lindeque posted: “After everything Madiba has done for us, this is how they treat him. Like an animal at the zoo. Shame on the ANC.”

Far from allaying fears over Mandela’s health, the ANC’s strategy appeared to have backfired. Radio presenter Aki Anastasiou tweeted: “He looks so frail. I wish they’d just leave him in peace.”

During the film, Mandela is urged to “smile, smile” as one of his grandsons grabs a mobile phone to take a picture. Mandela attempts a weak smile but, as the flash goes off, he closes his eyes. His eyes are sensitive after years of work in a limestone quarry.

Source: The Gaurdian

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