Quiet concern surrounds the health of former South African president Nelson Mandela who is being treated in hospital for a recurring lung infection.
The 94-year-old is said to be responding well but has been described as frail.
Mandela is an iconic figure in South Africa and is regarded as the father of the nation.“As from a country, we mourn, we would want him to get better, speedy recovery and with his strength that has led the country and still leading the country,” said one Johannesburg resident. A tourist visiting from France added: “We don’t want him to die now, we’d like him to stay around for as long as possible because it’s very emotional because even in France, Mandela is seen as someone extraordinary.”
Such is his international stature, US President Barack Obama, sent his best wishes from Washington:
“He’s a hero, I think, to all of us, and he’s ended up being an inspiration to all of us. When you think of a single individual that embodies the kind of leadership qualities that I think we all aspire to, the first name that comes up is Nelson Mandela.”
It is the fourth time in two years that the anti-apartheid leader has been admitted to hospital. His last public appearance on a major stage was when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup.