Church congregations all over South Africa offered Easter prayers for their former president Nelson Mandela, who is recovering in hospital from a recurring lung infection.
The latest official news is that the 94-year-old hero of the anti-apartheid struggle is comfortable and able to breathe without problems, and is responding to treatment for another bout of pneumonia.
In Soweto, Mandela’s condition was at the forefront of prayers.
He became South Africa’s first black president, having led the fight to overthrow white minority rule in the country.
He then spent his years in power promoting racial reconciliation, despite having spent nearly three decades in prison.
Father Sebastian Russouw from the Regina Parish church in Soweto said: “We pray that God’s healing hand may be upon him, that he knows God’s closeness is with him at all times.”
It is the third time in four months that Mandela has been in hospital. He has a history of lung problems since contracting tuberculosis as a prisoner.
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