As Nelson Mandela spent his second day in a Pretoria hospital Sunday, South Africans prayed for his recovery and the government told people not to worry.
The country’s first black president, who is 94, was flown from his rural home in the province of Eastern Cape to the capital city of Pretoria to receive medical attention Saturday.
President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela, whose health has been frail in recent years, and "found him comfortable, and in good care," Zuma's representative said.
However, the Sunday Times, a South African newspaper, quoted an unnamed person close to the Mandela family as saying, "He has not been talking ... he is not looking good. It's clear that something is troubling him," according to the Telegraph of London.
No details have been released about the specific reason for Mandela's admission to hospital or when he will be discharged.
Continue Reading Below
Mandela -- affectionately known in South Africa as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name -- "will receive medical attention from time to time which is consistent with his age," Zuma's office said in a statement Saturday.
Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughter Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane appeared to not view it as an emergency situation, or else they were unaware that Mandela had been transferred to Pretoria. They attended a football match in Soweto between the Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, local media reported.
The continued uncertainty about Mandela’s health saw worshipers gather Sunday morning at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in the Soweto township outside Johannesburg to pray for the leader, the Associated Press reported via the Guardian. The church was once a center of anti-apartheid protests and funerals.
“Yes, it really worries us because he is a great person,” churchgoer Shainet Mnkomo said as she left an early-morning service. “He did so many things to the country, he’s one of those persons who we remember most.”
While South Africa’s government has offered no details about who would provide medical attention for Mandela, the military has taken over medical care for the aging leader since his respiratory infection last year. At 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria on Saturday night, the facility that previously cared for Mandela in February, everything appeared calm, without any additional security present. On Sunday morning, soldiers set up a checkpoint to search vehicles heading onto the hospital’s grounds.