COMFORTABLE: Nelson Mandela, who is in hospital. Picture: AP

Botho Molosankwe

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The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has wished Nelson Mandela a speedy recovery and hopes that South Africa will still enjoy the elderly statesman’s presence for some time to come.

The foundation was reacting to news that he was admitted to a Pretoria military hospital for medical tests.

President Jacob Zuma visited him and reported that the 94-year-old Mandela was in good health and comfortable.

The Kathrada Foundation said Zuma’s feedback was reassuring and comforting because it indicated that Mandela’s hospitalisation appeared to be for ailments consistent with any person his age.

Directly addressing Mandela, the statement touched on how inspiring he was and that the whole of South Africa was thinking of and praying for him.

“Even in such mundane times as routine hospital visits, you allow South Africans from across the length and breadth of this country to unite in concern for you. We appreciate your life and we trust that the legacy of your leadership will continue to inspire this generation of leaders.

“May your thoughts dwell on the open fields of Qunu, of South Africa’s children working together to build a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society.

“Even though you are honoured across the planet, you are our Madiba, and we continue to draw inspiration from your strength, conviction and fortitude. We look forward to good reports about your health,” the statement read.

Kathrada was jailed on Robben Island with Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba and Elias Motsoaledi.

Meanwhile South Africans prayed yesterday for Mandela and anxiously awaited further word on his condition.

After Zuma’s visit, Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said the president found the frail 94-year-old to be “comfortable and in good care”.

Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital on Saturday.

The continued uncertainty about Mandela’s health saw worshippers gather at the Regina Mundi Catholic church in Soweto yesterday to pray for the icon. The church was once a centre 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.”

In February, Mandela spent a night in hospital for minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint.

In January 2011, Mandela was admitted to a Joburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests, but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection. He was discharged a few days later.

Mandela contracted tuberculosis during his years in prison. He also had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985.

The nation’s military has taken over his medical care since the respiratory infection. – Sapa-AP