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South Africa's Nelson Mandela on life support

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A medical official in Pretoria has confirmed that former South African President Nelson Mandela is on life support. The anti-Apartheid activist had been hospitalized earlier this month for a recurring lung infection.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Considered the founding father of South Africa's democracy, the 94-year-old Mandela's health condition remains unchanged. Current South African President Jacob Zuma's government had issued a statement that Mandela's doctors "continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort."

Police have barricaded the street leading to the hospital's main entrance. Well-wishers hung balloons, stuffed animals and messages of support along the wall outside his Pretoria hospital.

Mandela entered international consciousness while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, the country's system of racial segregation. He was elected the nation's first black president in 1994, four years after he was freed.

While having dropped from the world stage, Mandela remains popular and is considered a hero of democracy worldwide.

Mandela's family met in his boyhood home of Qunu this week. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba also stopped by the hospital and conducted prayers, calling for "a quiet night and a peaceful, perfect end" for the former president.

"Fill them with your holy courage and the gift of trusting faith, and take away their fears so that they may dare to face their grief," he said, according to a copy of the prayer posted on the bishop's Web site.

"And uphold all of us with your steadfast love so that we may be filled with gratitude for all the good that he has done for us and for our nation, and may honor his legacy through our lives."

Funeral arrangements were not part of the recent discussions, family friend Bantu Holomisa said. As a former head of state, plans for Mandela's funeral are spearheaded by the government, according to Holomisa.

Mandela turns 95 in July.

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