The daughter of Nelson Mandela says the South African anti-apartheid leader’s health condition is “very critical” and “anything is imminent.”
“Tata (father) is very critical,” Makaziwe Mandela told state radio SAFM on Thursday. “Anything is imminent, but I want to emphasize again that it is only God who knows when the time to go is.”
The announcement has forced President Jacob Zuma to cancel a trip abroad. This is the first time Zuma has scrapped a public engagement since Mandela was hospitalized earlier this month.
Meanwhile, people in the capital, Pretoria are holding a vigil outside the hospital offering prayers to Mandela.
The 94-year-old icon was taken to hospital for a lung infection. His lung troubles date from his 27 years in prison.
On Tuesday, members of Mandela’s family and tribal elders held a meeting at his home in the village of Qunu in Eastern Cape Province, 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Johannesburg.
The Nobel Peace laureate, who led the country to democracy in 1994, left office in 1999 after serving one term as president. Seen as South Africa’s moral compass, the highly revered leader announced his retirement from public life in 2004, but continued to make a number of public appearances.
The former South African president has received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
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