Nelson Mandela’s family have kept up a steady presence at the ailing 94-year-old’s hospital bedside in Pretoria where he is being treated for a lung infection.
Since his condition deteriorated at the weekend there has been no change in the former president’s health, which is still described as critical.
Speaking from Qunu, Eastern Cape, his grandson Mandla Mandela expressed the family’s gratitude to well wishers.
“We’ve been grateful to South Africans and people of the global community who have showered the family with prayers and we are hoping that my grandfather will recover steadily.”
At both his homes in the Eastern Cape and in Johannesburg cards and flowers are being laid by those wishing the anti-apartheid hero well.
“It feels like this is our last chance to actually show him what he means to us as a nation and to say our goodbyes,” said one Johannesburg resident.Two small girls said “ We’ve just come to pray for Mandela, so he gets well soon.”
“And so that he can come back to this beautiful nation and help us again.”
Madiba, as he is affectionately known, is revered among most of South Africa’s 53 million people who consider him to be the father of the nation.