Nelson Mandela, the former president and the inspirational symbol of post-apartheid South Africa, is expected to attend the opening World Cup football match on Friday.
South Africans have been split over whether the nearly 92-year-old Mandela, or “Madiba” as he is known, should be asked to make the arduous journey to Soccer City because of his frail health.
His grandson, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, explained:
“The current discussion is that we afford him time to come in, whether it’s 10 minutes or 15 minutes, to walk about the stadium and wave at the crowd, and that is what we are looking at. But I think to have him sit through the entire 90 minutes of soccer would really impact on his state of health.”
Football fans and politicians alike want Mandela to attend in the hope he can work some of his “Madiba” magic on their national side.
In 1995 he was credited with inspiring South Africa’s rugby team to victory, seen as a unifying moment for the country.