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Quiet outside Mandela hospital

01 July 2013, 18:06

Pretoria - It was quiet outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Monday where former South African president Nelson Mandela remained in a critical condition.

Celliers Street remained cordoned off and people milled around. A few police officers stood watch in the parking area.

Passers-by stopped and asked journalists for the latest news on Mandela's health.

Some Madiba supporters travelled to Pretoria from other provinces to pay their respects.

Lanbile Ndzause, from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, said he took a bus to Pretoria on Sunday night. He arrived on Monday morning.

"I was in Qunu yesterday (Sunday). It's very sad. People are not feeling good about Madiba's latest condition," he said.

"We don't play soccer anymore when Madiba was reported to be in a critical condition in hospital. We wish him well."

Speedy recovery

Swakhile Mbuntshu, from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, said he wanted to wish Mandela a speedy recovery.

"I wish Madiba well. South Africa will not be the same without him. He has done a lot for this country."

Among the messages left on a wall outside the hospital was one from the ANC Youth League.

The message was printed on a youth league T-shirt and read: "The ANC Youth League wishes its first president, [a] freedom fighter, a speedy recovery. We love u Tata".

The shrine, which continues to grow, was started after Mandela was admitted to the hospital with a recurring lung infection on 8 June. Monday was Mandela's 23rd day in hospital.

Journalists continued to congregate near the Celliers Street entrance, photographing and filming people dropping off cards and flowers.

On Saturday, South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela remained in a critical condition but he hoped for a recovery. Zuma gave the update during a media briefing with US president Barack Obama.

Obama did not visit the hospital, but privately met some of Mandela's relatives, including his two daughters and several grandchildren.

Obama also had a telephonic conversation with Mandela's wife Graça Machel.



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