Candles continue to burn for Mandela
26 June 2013, 08:38
Pretoria - Burning candles, bouquets of pink and red
flowers, paintings and hundreds of messages at the entrance of a Pretoria
hospital on Wednesday urged critically-ill former president Nelson Mandela to
Well-wishers have consistently registered support for
Mandela in different forms, transforming the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital's
security wall into a miniature art gallery.
The celebrated anti-apartheid icon was admitted at the
facility in the early hours of 8 June for a recurring lung infection.
The catalogue of presents, get-well-soon cards, mainly
handwritten on cardboard, eclipsed the hospital's signpost at the entrance on
A card attached to a white teddy bear read: "Dearest
Madiba. Thank you for everything you have done for our country. You are and
will always be a true legend and a grandfather to all. From Alphonso
Another read: "Tata Madiba, the Lord knows the plans of
his children. May you get better, but even if you don't, we will still love you
as a nation. [From] Lwandile".
Three candles were burning slowly near the messages. Many
balloons, including several from a popular pizza outlet, were tied with ribbon
onto bunches of flowers.
Security at the private hospital has been upscaled since
Madiba was admitted.
Journalists braving the cold
At 05:00 on Wednesday, several police officers started
screening vehicles entering the facility.
Despite the cold, scores of journalists from local and
international media houses stayed outside the hospital.
Several broadcast vans still had their engines running. The
news crews also set up generators for back-up power.
Tshwane metro police officers parked near journalists on
Celliers street. Numerous police patrol cars were also in the area.
Mandela's home in Houghton was quiet on Wednesday morning,
with police cars occasionally patrolling the area.
At around 01.10, three cars and one van from the
Johannesburg metro police came down 4th Street, and turned into the street
where Mandela's house is located.
The van at the back of the patrol switched on its hazard
lights, reversed and parked in the street in front of the gate before flashing
About eight officers got out of the vehicles and had a
discussion in front of the gate for 10 minutes before they all got back into
the cars and drove off slowly.
Many Mandela family members, politicians, socialites and
religious leaders have visited Madiba at the hospital since he was admitted on 8
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and
Pumla-Makaziwe Mandela visited the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital, in Arcadia, east
Mapisa-Nqakula arrived in a black Mercedes-Benz with blue
flashing police lights shortly before 19:00.
Minutes earlier Mandela's eldest daughter, Pumla
Makaziwe-Mandela, and his granddaughters Tukwini and Ndileka Mandela, arrived
at the hospital in a red Range Rover.
Shortly before their arrival, Anglican Archbishop of Cape
Town Thabo Makgoba left the hospital.
Madiba's step-daughter Jozina Machel was also at the
Controversial businessman Kenny Kunene arrived at the
hospital's Celliers street entrance to place flowers and speak to the media.
After Kunene's visit, more Tshwane metro police officers
arrived at the entry point.
They cordoned off Celliers Street where it meets with Park
Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa arrived to check on the
police officers and left after a brief discussion with them.
Earlier on Tuesday, the presidency confirmed that Mandela
remained in a critical condition.
"[Mandela's] condition remains unchanged in hospital,
and doctors continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, wellbeing, and
comfort," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
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