South African President Jacob Zuma gave his country a lift yesterday when he announced that former President Nelson Mandela‘s health is improving at a Pretoria hospital, though he remains in serious condition.
“Over the last two days, although he remains serious, his doctors have stated that his improvement has been sustained,” Zuma said.
He said Mandela, who is suffering from a lung infection,” continues to engage with family.”
Zuma made his remarks at a Youth Day gathering in KwaZulu-Natal province in remembrance of the 1976 Soweto uprisings against apartheid. The president asked the crowd to join him in wishing Mandela a happy Father’s Day.
“We love him and know that he loves us too,” Zuma said.
On Saturday, Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, also said his grandfather was making progress, but no one has yet indicated when he might leave hospital, according to the BBC.
During his 27-yearlong imprisonment at Robben Island, Mandela is believed to have suffered damage to his lungs while working in a quarry and contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s.
A week ago, with a front page headline that read “It’s time to let him go,” the South African Sunday Times carried a story quoting Mandela’s longtime friend Andrew Mlangeni, who said the time may have come for South Africans to say goodbye to their beloved leader.
“You have been coming to the hospital too many times. Quite clearly you are not well and there is a possibility you might not be well again,” Mlangeni told the paper. “Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too.”