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Well-wishers curious about Madiba’s health

File photo: Children hold balloons and flowers as they gather to wish to former President Nelson Mandela happy birthday outside the hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria. Photo: Reuters

File photo: Children hold balloons and flowers as they gather to wish to former President Nelson Mandela happy birthday outside the hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria. Photo: Reuters

Published Aug 10, 2013

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Pretoria - Numerous passers-by at the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela was being treated on Saturday were curious for updates on his health.

On her way to church, Portia Nzembe spent a few minutes gazing at the gallery of flowers, huge get-well-soon cards and pictures displayed at the Celliers Street entrance of the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital.

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“My prayer is that they discharge him soon, no-one enjoys a hospital stay.

“The whole country is on edge as long as he stays here in hospital,” she said.

“I have been coming to this entrance for the past two months, whenever I get the chance.”

Nigerian national, Michael Ogoto said he has assumed the task of conveying updates on Mandela's health to his Pretoria-based compatriots.

“My friends sort of rely on me to get timely updates on Mr Mandela. I rely on the media for the updates but I wish the updates were more frequent,” said Ogoto.

“Everyone wants to know how Mr Mandela is feeling, everyday.”

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Other passers-by were using their phones to take photographs of themselves with the hospital in the background.

Idris Kamoto said he prayed for ailing icon every night.

“He will be fine, he is one important old man and Africa still needs his wisdom.”

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The anti-apartheid icon has been critically ill in hospital for over two months.

Last week, the presidency said he was still in a critical but stable condition.

Saturday was Mandela's 64th day in hospital. He was admitted on June 8 due to a recurring lung infection.

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Mandela's youngest daughter Zindzi told the SABC on Friday that her father was becoming more alert and responsive by the day.

“Tata now manages to sit up, like now he is able to sit up in a chair for a few minutes in a day. Everyday you know, he is becoming more alert, more responsive and so on,” she said.

“Tata is determined not to go anywhere anytime soon, I cannot stress this enough.

“People must stop saying to the family let go, let go, we are just looking at this man who is saying 'I'm not going anywhere',” said Zindzi as she left the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital. - Sapa

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