South Africa will uphold former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy beyond his lifespan, the international peace icon’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has said.
“There are prophets of doom who say the country will come to a standstill… but I want to reassure [the country] today, on this very special day… to the nation and the entire caring world, it will continue as it has always done,” she said in a Radio 702 interview this morning.
“The country will solidify and come together and carry on.”
Mandela remained in hospital today, which is his 95th birthday.
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement earlier his health was steadily improving.
Thursday was Mandela’s 41st day in the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.
In 2009, July 18 was declared as Mandela Day to honour the former statesman, with people encouraged to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to nation building and charity in recognition of his service towards securing democracy and restoring human dignity.
Madikizela-Mandela said that she and her family would visit a children’s home in Mamelodi, Tshwane, today to celebrate Mandela day.
She related a touching anecdote about Mandela’s “obsession” with education and his interest in his grandchildren’s progress at school.
“The children complained, he is so boring to visit because… he will not even remember who you are sometimes, but he wants to know: ‘Where’s your report?’, ‘How did you fare in class?’,” Madikizela-Mandela said.
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