Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African black leader and the icon in anti-apartheid movement, has been on life support. The news came on Wednesday. However, Mac Maharaj, the spokesman for government, refused to make any comment on the matter.
South African people lit candles outside the hospital where the leader has been taking treatment for a few days.
Because of a chronic lung infection, 94-year-old Mandela has been hospitalized since June 8. Since Sunday, the hospital authority has described his physical condition as serious. South African President Jacob Zuma cancelled his Mozambique visit after paying a visit to Mandela on late Wednesday night.
Anxious people tried gathering on the street leading to the main entrance of the hospital. However, police kept the street clear by barricading it.
Mandela was a leader in the anti-apartheid movement that troubled the nation for a long time. He had to endure 27 years in prison while fighting against that system of racial segregation. He was released from prison in 1990 and four years later, he became the first black president of South Africa.
Even after his stepping down from active politics, he has never gone out of spotlight. Throughout the world, he has always been adored and considered as a hero of democracy.
However, it also seems that the South Africans have been preparing themselves for facing the worst. On Wednesday, Mandela’s family met in his childhood home of Qunu. An Archbishop also carried out a prayer inside the hospital, praying for a calm night and a great end for the legendary leader. A copy of that prayer can be found on the website of the Archbishop.
However, Bantu Holomisa, Mandela’s family friend, told the South African Press Association (SAPA) that Qunu’s meeting did not include any talks about funeral arrangements. He also said that the government would lead the plans for Mandela’s funeral.
Mandela will turn 95-year-old next month.