Nelson Mandela is in critical condition today, but family members say he is improving a bit.
The 94-year old activist and former president of South Africa has been hospitalized since June 8th for a stubborn lung infection and was placed on life support this week, as well as renal dialysis. That news scared his supporters, who have been standing outside the hospital awaiting word on his condition for days and leaving balloons, messages of support, and stuffed animals. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela late on Wednesday night and ended up canceling a trip to Mozambique today for a summit he was supposed to attend, which did nothing to hearten those who have been desperately awaiting word on Mandela’s condition. Zuma released a statement, however, calling Mandela by one of his many nicknames–Tata, which means “father”.
“I canceled my visit to Mozambique today so that I can see him and confer with the doctors. He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job. We must pray for Tata’s health and wish him well. We must also continue with our work and daily activities while Madiba remains hospitalised, ” President Zuma said
Mandela is a hero to many and an icon representing justice to those living in South Africa. After spending 27 years in jail for his involvement in fighting against apartheid–a racial segregation which sparked violence in the country–Mandela was finally freed and became the country’s first black president.