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Messages of love, support for Madiba

25 June 2013, 11:00

Pretoria - A collection of pink and red flowers, colourful balloons and an assortment of get-well-soon cards on Tuesday adorned the main entrance of the Pretoria hospital where ailing former president Nelson Mandela was in a critical condition.

Well-wishers have turned the security wall of the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital into a miniature art gallery since the celebrated anti-apartheid icon was admitted at the facility on 8 June.

'Get well soon' cards, mainly handmade in different shapes, eclipsed the hospital's signpost at the entrance on Celliers Street.

One of the messages read: “We love you Tata Mandela. I am still young, I still need to see you. Get better. [From] Tino”.

Another read: “Tata Madiba. I hope you get well very soon. You are the most important person in our country. By His [Jesus'] wounds you were healed”.

"Though the world sees and soon forgets, we will not forget who you are and what you have done for us. We love you Tata,” read a message hand-written on a white sheet.

Screening vehicles

Some of the cards were designed in shapes of hands and hearts. There was also a picture of popular cartoon character Winnie the Pooh.

A bright, brown sculpture of a head was placed next to the assortment of messages, above the Medi-Clinic banner. Some of the flowers were placed in jars of water.

Security at the hospital had been strengthened, with part of Park Street leading to an entrance being cordoned off with fence and police tape.

Shortly before 06:00, several police officers started screening all vehicles entering the hospital.

Despite the biting cold, numerous reporters and technical staff, waited outside the hospital. Some set-up broadcasting equipment.

Several generators for back-up power were running through the night.

Visitors pour in

Numerous Mandela family members, politicians and government officials had been visiting the anti apartheid icon.

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Madiba's daughter Makaziwe, left the hospital on Monday night.

Sisulu arrived at the hospital just after 18:00 in a black Mercedes with blue flashing police lights. She and Makaziwe Mandela left just before 20:00.

Some of Mandela's relatives left the hospital earlier on Monday.

First seen leaving after a visit was grandson Ndaba Mandela, who arrived shortly after Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughter Zindzi Mandela-Motlhajwa.

Earlier in the day, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa arrived separately at the hospital.

On Sunday night presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement that Mandela's condition had turned critical.

Addressing the media in a briefing, which was initially scheduled as an off-the-record editors' briefing, on Monday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela's condition had not changed.

"Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital and doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort," Zuma said in Johannesburg.

He and deputy African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela at the hospital on Sunday night.



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