Skip to main content

With Mandela's condition 'unchanged,' friend says 'it's time to let him go'

From Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
updated 10:37 AM EDT, Mon June 10, 2013
Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country's president, Jacob Zuma. Mandela was 95. Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country's president, Jacob Zuma. Mandela was 95.
HIDE CAPTION
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Mandela's daughter Zenani Dlamini has flown in from Argentina to be with him
  • Mandela has been in and out of hospitals in recent years
  • A newspaper quotes Mandela's friend as saying it's time to say goodbye
  • He has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010

(CNN) -- Former South African leader Nelson Mandela remained in intensive care Monday, two days after he was hospitalized with a recurring lung infection.

The increasingly frail Mandela was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria on Saturday. Later in the day, the South African president's office said the 94-year-old former leader was in a "serious but stable condition."

He was breathing on his own and his wife was by his side, the office said at the time.

After offering no updates for 48 hours, the government said Monday that Mandela's condition was "unchanged."

Meanwhile, his daughter Zenani Dlamini, who is the South African ambassador to Argentina, has flown back to South Africa to be with her father.

Mandela has been in and out of hospitals in recent years.

Nadia Bilchik gives latest on Mandela
Spokesperson: Celebrate Mandela's life
2012: Nelson Mandela's early years

Each episode has sparked concerns worldwide.

South Africa: Following Nelson Mandela

'We will release him'

On Sunday, South Africans offered prayers at church services, and well-wishes poured in for Mandela from across the world.

Meanwhile, the front page of South Africa's Sunday Times read, "It's time to let him go."

The paper quoted Mandela's longtime friend Andrew Mlangeni as saying that the time may have come for South Africans to say goodbye to the beloved icon.

"You have been coming to the hospital too many times. Quite clearly you are not well and there is a possibility you might not be well again," Mlangeni told the paper.

"Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too," Mlangeni said.

History of ailments

South Africa's first black president gets round-the-clock care, and his house is fitted with medical equipment that mirrors that of an intensive care unit.

His history of lung problems dates to when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid, and he has battled respiratory infections over the years.

Last year, he spent Christmas holidays undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones, one of his longest hospital stays since his release from prison in 1990.

Considered the founding father of South Africa's democracy, Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, the country's system of racial segregation.

"He has taught us ... that we enhance our own humanity when we serve and make a difference to other people's lives," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. "It's easy to serve oneself, own interests, but serving the interests of others, making their lives better changes the quality of all humanity."

In 1993, Mandela and then-South African President F.W. de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hero of democracy

The iconic leader was elected the nation's first black president a year later, serving only one term, as he had promised.

He has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.

But despite rare public appearances in recent years, he retains his popularity and is considered a hero of democracy in the nation. Last year, South Africa launched a new batch of banknotes with a picture of a smiling Mandela on the front, a testament to his iconic status.

Mandela's impact extends far beyond South African borders. After he left office, he mediated conflicts from Africa to the Middle East.

Read: Video of ailing Nelson Mandela prompts outrage

Read: Amidst outrage, South Africa confronts Mandela's mortality

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 8:26 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT