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Nelson Mandela Still in Critical Condition, South Africans Keep Vigil

Nelson Mandela Still in Critical Condition, South Africans Keep Vigil


South African President Jacob Zuma said yesterday that Nelson Mandela is still in critical condition for a second day in a hospital in Pretoria where he is being treated for a lung infection.

Zuma said at a press conference in Johannesburg “Doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort,”

Mandela, the iconic leader who played a towering role in his country’s transition from white minority rule under the system of apartheid to multiracial democracy in 1994.

Mandela, who was freed by the apartheid government in 1990 after 27 years of imprisonment, became South Africa’s first black president after the country’s first all-race elections in 1994. He retired from public life in 2004.

He has not been seen in public since the World Cup soccer final in South Africa in July 2010 and has been hospitalized four times since December, mostly for the pulmonary condition that has plagued him for years.

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According to NYTimes, The South African government faced criticism over the weekend after it confirmed reports that the military ambulance carrying Mr. Mandela to the hospital had broken down, leaving him waiting on the roadside until a replacement vehicle arrived.

In the statement on Sunday, Mr. Zuma said that doctors were doing “everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well looked after and is comfortable.” Madiba is Mr. Mandela’s clan name.

The language used in the statement was the strongest yet concerning Mr. Mandela’s health.

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