Saturday, August 31, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
BY SUBRY GOVENDER
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Local and foreign visitors continue to visit Hospital in Pretoria where Nelson Mandela is receiving treatment
NELSON MANDELA IN HOSPITAL FOR TWO MONTHS. Although the South African Government has dramatically reduced its information on the current condition of former President and freedom icon, Nelson Mandela, local and foreign people still visit the hospital in Pretoria where he is being treated. I visited the hospital on Monday, August 5 2013 to check on the latest situation at the hospital and the number of people paying their respects and praying for Mandela's speedy recovery. The following report was broadcast by Radio Deutsche Welle on Wednesday, August 7 2013.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Local and foreign visitors still visit hospital in Pretoria despite lack of information on Nelson Mandela's condition
By Subry Govender
(On assignment for Radio Deutsche Welle)
A message of support for Nelson Mandela at the Tribute Wall
South Africa's freedom icon and first democratic President, Nelson Mandela, has now been in hospital for almost two months after being admitted on the 8th of June. He's receiving treatment for a lung infection. His condition has been officially described as "critical but stable". This has been the information on his condition ever since he was first admitted to the Pretoria Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital.
I visited the hospital surroundings on Tuesday, August 6 to check out the atmosphere and see whether there's still a rush of people. I found large portraits of Mandela's pictures adorning tree tops, light and telephone poles and the hospital boundary wall. There's also a huge Tribute Wall where thousands of messages of support and well wishes are pasted.
I found that despite the South African Government substantially decreasing its regular and official information on Nelson Mandela's condition, some local and foreign visitors still continue to visit the Pretoria Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital vicinity to wish the former President well and pray for him.
They have become fewer in numbers from the first time since the 8th of June when as many as 200 people a day used to flock to a side street - opposite the hospital - to lay flowers, pen messages and pray for Mandela's recovery.
A young student at the nearby University of South Africa, Ms Portia Mthembu, was one of the locals visiting the Tribute Wall.
"I came here to offermy prayers for Madiba because he has done a lot for us," she told me.
"But I am very unhappy that he's still in hospital. He should be at home with his family, enjoying the rest of his life. Being in hospital is just as worse as the 27 years he was imprisoned for fighting for our freedom."
Another local, Mr Paul Nkuna, had come all the way from the Limpopo Province to offer his support for the freedom icon. Mr Nkuna, a logistics director at the University of Limpopo, said he would like to see Mandela fully recovering because "we need him for another five to 10 years".
"My visit is just to see the pictures which are on the wall here and hopefully to hear that Tata is well again and discharged. That's my wish," he said.
Some of the foreign visitors were from Mexico, Columbia and the United Kingdom.
Mr David Rees Jones of England visited the hospital Tribute Wall with his wife, daughter, son and niece. He was one of the sprinkling of people visiting the hospital surroundings.
He told me that Mandela was a world icon and he and his family wanted to ensure that they visited the hospital surrounding to pay their respects to him.
"Well we just wanted to come and pay our respects to Nelson Mandela," he said, "you know he's an incredible statesman and he did so much for SA and he's an inspiration for people all around the world".
"So we wanted to come and see what's happening here and pay our respects to Madiba. He's an old man but everyone still wishes him the best."
Another foreign visitor was Sister Clara Torris, a Catholic Missionary, from Mexico.
"Nelson Mandela is a hero in our country as well and we wanted to come here to pray for him," she said.
"His life is in God's hands and when he goes we will be here to say thank you Madiba we are proud of you and will try to follow your example."
Major international and local media houses - ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC, Associated Press TV - are still maintaining their presence but it seems they have become restless.
A cameraman for a local television station, Clement Mantase, has been keeping watch at the entrance to the hospital from across the street for about four weeks. He says there's not been much activity over the past two weeks.
"It's been quiet for the past two weeks or so. On an average we'll see one family member or two coming to visit the hospital and we never get information from inside. All the journalists keep asking one another for information. Nobody knows anything."
A foreign media person, Andrew Jaguna is a camerman for the Associated Press Television. He has been stationed at the hospital vicinity since June with only a few days break to return to his home base in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.
"I haven't filed a single picture for the last two weeks," he said.
"The reason being that there's not much information coming from the authorities. Family visits have become rare. We only see the wife, Graca Machel, is always here and the eldest daughter comes once in a while, compared to the first days when the whole family - from the youngest to the eldest - very frequent. Now its very quiet."
A young BBC television reporter, Sullefene Lolwane, says despite the drastic drop in the number of people visiting the Tribute Wall area, they would still maintain their presence until something happens. By this she meant when Mandela passes on or is discharged from hospital.
"We'll be here until something happens, ya we'll maintain it. Each day someone different will come and just monitor everything."
Students from the Tshwane University of Technology
showing their support for Nelson Mandela
A street photographer, Sabelo Makena, who set up business near the Tribute Wall three weeks ago, is also now finding that the traffic of people to the area has drastically slowed down. He has been very busy photographing people visiting the Tribute Wall but has found that for the past week there has only been a trickle of people.
"For the first two weeks," he said, "I have done a lot of money but since last week from Thursday till now there's no business here".
"Now is quiet. Always business is like this. There's a time where things go well and then there's a drop. But I can't worry because I know this business is like this."
Security is very tight and no unofficial visitors or media people are allowed into the hospital grounds. However, I managed to speak to a patient, Ms Agneta Nolita, who visited the hospital for treatment. She told me that while she was receiving treatment she inquired about Mandela and whether it would be possible for her to visit the icon.
"I asked them about where he is and if there's a possibility about seeing him," she said.
"They say it is really a protected area and its secluded. You have lots of security and no one could really go there. We have all the policemen and all the security people checking out on that but where he is it is really not accessible."
She would have loved to see the freedom icon because of what he has achieved for SA, Africa and the world.
"He's this icon in Africa. He 's an inspiration to both the young and older people. It 's really important to see him and wish him well, quick recovery. It's been long you know. All this time it's just been quiet."
The South African Government had not released any further information from the one that President Jacob Zuma issued last Friday, August 2 when he said Mandela was still critical but showing signs of improvement. ends - Subry Govender.