Pretoria - Rugby players from Kings College in Wimbledon,
London, who were on a two-week rugby tour, came to the hospital to pay their
respects to the ailing anti-apartheid icon, on Tuesday.
Nelson Mandela was spending his 32nd day in hospital on
Tuesday. He was admitted on 8 June with a recurring lung infection.
"We came to the hospital to experience the
appreciation people of South Africa are showing Mandela," said Theo
Mandela's ill-health had made news around the world. Some
of the rugby players said they did not fully understand the impact his hospital
stay had had on them until Tuesday, when they read the messages left by
"I originally thought it didn't affect me, while I
was back in London, but being here and seeing how the nation is reacting is
overwhelming," said Tom Middlehurst.
Middlehurst added that seeing the story in the news did
not really indicate the magnitude and impact Mandela had on the country and the
They said the story was receiving wide media coverage in
England, with a lot of questions being asked about the country's future after
"People back home are wishing him a speedy recovery,
but there is also interest in how the country will react to his death,"
Mark Fuller said.
Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and his
daughter Makaziwe Mandela arrived at the Pretoria hospital, where he is being
treated, on Tuesday.
Bathembu chief Bovulengwe Mfundo Mtirara also came to
visit Madiba at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital.