Mandela health improves as Obama pays tribute

NELSON Mandela’s health has shown signs of improvement and although his condition remains critical it is now stable, according to the South African government.

One of the former president’s daughters said yesterday he is still opening his eyes and reacting to the touch of his family and South African president Jacob Zuma’s office said he had received an encouraging update from the medical team.

Mr Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years during white racist rule and became president in all-race elections in 1994, was taken to a hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Mr Zuma urged people to pray for him earlier this week as it was announced that his condition had deteriorated.

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Makaziwe Mandela, one of Mr Mandela’s daughters, said “anything is imminent” because her father, referred to affectionately by many South Africans as “Tata,” or “Father,” is in a very critical state.

“I want to emphasise again that it’s only God who knows when the time to go is,” she said. “So we will wait with Tata. He’s still giving us hope by opening his eyes, he’s still reactive to touch, we will live with that hope until the final end comes.”

Beginning a trip which will include South Africa, US President Barack Obama said in Senegal yesterday his thoughts and prayers were with South Africans and the Mandela family. He said he was inspired in the early 1990s, to see Mr Mandela step forward after decades of imprisonment to help deliver democracy.