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Jul 18th, 2011


Photo Gallery: Nelson Mandela: Life of a Revolutionary Peacemaker


President Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II after meeting at Johannesburg International Airport on Sept. 16, 1995, at the start of the pope’s first official visit to South Africa. (Photo credit: Luciano Mellace / Reuters)

Video

Nelson Mandela turns 93 (NBC Nightly News, July 18, 2011) – South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela turned 93 today, as 12 million school children celebrated his life in song. Brian Williams reports. (00:38)

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2/25/2012 Update

South Africa’s Former President Nelson Mandela Hospitalized

Video

Nelson Mandela in South African hospital (NBC Nightly News, Feb. 25, 2012) – South Africa’s 93-year-old former leader remains hospitalized. NBC News Special Correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault reports on his progress. (01:29)

The Associated Press and NBC News via MSNBC.com
February 25, 2012

JOHANNESBURG — Former South African President Nelson Mandela was hospitalized Saturday for a test to determine what is behind an undisclosed stomach ailment, and the country’s current leader said the much beloved 93-year-old icon was in no danger.

Mandela, a Nobel peace laureate who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule, has officially retired and last appeared in public in July 2010. He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. …

The South African military, which took charge of Mandela’s health care after he was hospitalized last year, and a spokesman for Mandela’s office said they would have no statement Saturday. …

Well-wishers like Derek Kemper, a 47-year-old emergency services consultant, said they hoped Mandela would soon recover.

Kemper said he fought the ANC as a soldier for the apartheid state. On Saturday, Kemper was touring Soweto, the famed Johannesburg township set aside for blacks under apartheid and still largely black and poor, with a group of other whites. Kemper marveled at how far the country had come, and credited Mandela.

“He had the wisdom to try to reunite the country.” Kemper said, speaking in front of a Soweto home where Mandela once lived that has been turned into a museum celebrating Mandela’s life.

Kemper said he believed that even though Mandela has largely retired from public life, he has a moderating influence on younger black South Africans who may be impatient with the pace of change in a country where the black majority remains poor. Kemper said he worried about whether the commitment to reconciliation would outlive Mandela.

But Kefiloe Molepo, a 19-year-old student who grew up just around the corner from Mandela’s home, said there was little cause for concern. Molepo, walking home from church, said he was raised on stories about Mandela, who he said was a friend of his great-grandfather.

“When he was set free, he didn’t think of vengeance,” Molepo said. “He wanted peace for the nation.”

In 1993, after white extremists killed Chris Hani, a black leader who at the time was second only to Mandela in popularity, Mandela went on national television to call for calm. Mandela wrote later that he was among those who feared Hani’s death would spark a race war, and his measured words were credited with averting further violence.

Today, white extremists have been largely sidelined. And black militants like Julius Malema, head of the ANC’s youth wing, grab headlines but struggle to draw crowds. …

Mandela’s public appearances have become increasingly rare, though he did appear at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in July 2010. Mandela also held a private meeting with Michelle Obama when the U.S. first lady traveled to South Africa with her daughters last year.

Mandela has taken up permanent residence at his home in Qunu, in the southeastern region of South Africa where he was raised. …

Full story

View images from Mandela’s life

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6/25/2013 Update

Nelson Mandela at 94

Ailing Mandela Opens Eyes, Smiles on Hearing of Obama’s South Africa Trip

Video

Nelson Mandela’s family gathers after urgent call (NBC “Today,” June 25, 2013) – The family of the 94-year-old former South African president gathered at his home, reportedly after an urgent call made by his children. Mandela remains in critical condition and is hospitalized for a 17th day. (00:16)

By Keir Simmons and Charlayne Hunter-Gault

June 25, 2013

PRETORIA, South Africa — Nelson Mandela “opened his eyes” and smiled after being told of President Barack Obama’s imminent visit to South Africa, his daughter said Tuesday, adding to speculation that the two men might meet.

The 94-year-old remains in a critical condition, South Africa’s government said Tuesday as relatives gathered at his home for a family meeting that local media reports described as “urgent.”

The anti-apartheid campaigner and democracy icon has been in hospital with a lung infection since June 8 [2013]. His condition was downgraded over the weekend from “serious but stable” to “critical.” …

Zindzi Mandela said Tuesday that she had said to her father: “Obama is coming.”

“He opened his eyes and gave me a smile,” she said.

She was speaking after relatives and chief members of Mandela’s clan gathered for a meeting at his rural home in Qunu, Eastern Cape province, on Tuesday morning.

Among those who arrived at the homestead were his grandson Mandla Mandela and other family members, Thanduxolo Mandela, Ndaba Mandela, and Ndileka Mandela. …

Full story

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Related reports on this site

Image: Helen Suzman and Nelson Mandela
Helen Suzman with Nelson Mandela in February 1990
(Photo credit: John Parkin / AP file)

Farewell to a Hero (Jan. 2, 2009)

Passing of a Visionary Leader (May 16, 2010)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

One Year Ago — July 18, 2010

Mayhem in Baghdad

One year ago today, I reported that twin suicide bombings killed nearly 50 people in Iraq as U.S. combat troops prepared to withdraw by the end of August 2010.

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Two Years Ago — July 18, 2009

Iraq Imposes New Limits on U.S.

Two years ago today, on July 18, 2009, I reported that Iraq’s top commanders told their U.S. counterparts to “stop all joint patrols” in Baghdad, raising fresh concerns about the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq.

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Three Years Ago — July 18, 2008

Campaign Against Michele Bachmann: Day Four

Three years ago today, on July 18, 2008 — the fourth day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District – I explained my guiding principle of “traditional conservatism.”

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