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Africa

African press review 28 June 2013

Text by: William Niba
5 min

Nelson Mandela’s long goodbye dominates today’s African press. Mail and Guardian reports that, as the nation braced for the worst, President Jacob Zuma who cancelled a trip to neighbouring Mozambique, announced that Madiba’s condition had stabilized.

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The atmosphere in the country remains very heavy with Cape Times speaking of a nation in suspense as Mandela’s family members kept up visits to the former President’s bedside.

The Johannesburg Star said on Thursday that that Nelson Mandela has actually been on life support since Sunday, while his doctors waited for the family to decide whether to keep him there or allow him to die. That report and the circulation of other wild rumours have infuriated the Mandela family, forcing his daughter Makaziwe to slam the press of acting like vultures.

Mail and Guardian accuses the ANC of turning the Pretoria hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated into the venue of an election campaign rally. This was after hundreds of ANC supporters some wearing Mandela and Jacob Zuma t-shirts were bussed into the hospital grounds. The paper underlines a very political message on the one of the shirts. "There is no born-free without a liberator. Vote ANC 2014"

As Mandela hovers on the threshold, Mail and Guardian claims that his long goodbye has taken on the form of a return - not as a statue, or as a caricature, but as living potential. According to the Johannesburg daily Madiba has a genius for saying goodbye. For the paper, as much as he may have sought peace after a life of constant struggle, Madiba was also teaching a basic lesson: that South Africa must be a nation of laws, and of institutions, not of men, certainly not of one man.

The health of former president Nelson Mandela is weighing on the visit to South Africa by US President Barack and an entourage of about 1,000 people, according to the Port Elizabeth Express.

Pretoria News reports that Obama’s two-day sojourn in Pretoria would not include a visit to the ailing Nelson Mandela. The paper quotes International Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane saying that Obama had been made aware of Mandela’s condition and he respected the family’s privacy.

The Pietermaritzburg Witness highlights Barack Obama’s praise of the anti-apartheid hero during a speech in Dakar on Thursday. Obama stated that Mandela was a “hero for the world” whose legacy will live on throughout the ages.

In Nigeria, Punch reports that citizens on social media are urging President Goodluck Jonathan to “replicate the giant strides” made by Madiba in the southern African nation. According to the paper, Jonathan’s friends on Face book lauded him for taking time out of his schedule on Thursday to wish Mandela a quick recovery and to pray for the South African people as they go through these “trying times”.

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One of President Jonathan’s friends urged him to “shine his eyes” and not allow the “bad eggs” surrounding him to misguide him. Another wondered if a Nigerian leader will ever receive the kind of “good wishes and magnanimity Mandela is receiving from his countrymen and citizens of the world”.

A third urged the Nigerian leader to note that Mister Mandela boarded no “flying ambulances” to a foreign hospital and is wholly being treated in South Africa by South African doctors, something that would never have happened in Nigeria where Goodluck Jonathan himself has “lost count” of governors and first ladies flown abroad to receive treatment, according to Punch newspaper.

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