TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - South Africans held a night-long prayer for former president Nelson Mandela outside his house in Soweto. The crowd sang and sent prayers for Mandela’s health. The anti-apartheid icon has been hospitalized for twenty days.
South Africa’s first black president is suffering from a lung infection. According to President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, 94-year old Mandela has shown improved health but remains in a critical condition on Thursday, June 27, local time.
"He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night," Zuma said after speaking to Mandela's medical team. The President postponed his state visit to Mozambique to visit Mandela at the hospital.
Meanwhile, Mandela’s daughter Makazie said his father is 'still there' and responds to touch. But she named some journalists as 'vultures' who are waiting his father’s death.
The crowd who gathered outside the hospital sent a message that they still supported Mandela, which was known by his clan name Madiba. The children released 94 balloons – one for each year in Mandela’s life – to the air as a sign of honor.
BBC correspondent said the South Africans were resigned to the possibility of Mandela’s death. "We don't like seeing Mandela going through so much pain. He has had a tough time in his life and he's gone through a lot of struggle. I think this struggle should get over sooner," Khulile Mlondleni told Reuters news agency, as quoted by BBC.
BBC | JULI HANTORO