WE LOVE YOU TATA: Candles light up and image of Nelson Mandela and the world prays for his speedy recovery. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

WE LOVE YOU TATA: Candles light up an image of Nelson Mandela as the world prays for the icon’s speedy recovery.
Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Yesterday, Nelson Mandela spent his 24th day at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria following a lung infection.  Crowds of people have been arriving outside the hospital to show their love for the former South African president.

For the last three weeks, the world has been unified in prayer for a South African hero whose condition is described as critical but stable.

Jana Basson, a 13 year old school girl, took time during her school holiday to pay tribute to a man she calls her role model.  “I love Madiba. He is my role model and a symbol of peace,” she said. [pullquote align=”right”]He is like a dad – he shouldn’t die.[/pullquote]

Wall of Wishes

Visitors from across the world have continued to show their support by writing messages on the now famous Wall of Wishes – a wall outside the hospital that people have used to post messages and leave gifts  for Mandela.

Molatudu Zinde a member of the Mamelodi SOS Village Grannies said they had come to sing for Mandela because he was an icon of the world and the father of the nation.

“Madiba is an icon of the world. He is like a dad – he shouldn’t die,” she said

Zinde said she was saddened by news that the Mandela’s were in the centre of a court case about the Mandela family gravesite. She hoped they would stop fighting and find more amicable ways to solve their differences,

“The ill health of Mandela should make them come together. They must stop fighting and just advise each other in amicable way.  Once they stop fighting Mandela will heal,” said Zinde

No one is as loved as Madiba

Popular South African praise poet Mzwakhe Mbuli also arrived in Pretoria yesterday to show his support by performing a poem in front of the Wall of Wishes.  Mbuli said Madiba was a unifier and a reconciler.  “No one can be compared to Madiba. No one is as loved as Madiba,” he said. [pullquote align=”right”]This man is intelligent, a fighter, a true leader[/pullquote]

Mbuli, who was arrested in 1999 for armed robbery and possession of a hand grenade said that during his incarnation Mandela had visited him in jail and brought him some food.

Throughout the day people from all across came to the world stopped by the Wall of Wishes to show their supports. Members of the Nigerian Students Union from the University of Pretoria approached the Wall of Wishes in song.

The believer

“Mandela is an Ubuntu icon,” said Cyril Njoku the president of the union. He said Mandela was able to create peaceful co-existence between people of different races and backgrounds.

Wilson Isebor, also a member of the Nigerian student Union, said Mandela taught him to never give up and to always have faith in your dreams.

“He didn’t give up even after going to jail for very long time. He still came out and fought for what he believed,” said Isebor

A fighter, a true leader

As the sun set, candles were light by new arrivals to emulate the Wall of Wishes. Journalists camping outside the hospital for the last 24 days erected  a white screen where they played videos and images of Mandela.

And slowly a small group of people starts to gather in front of the screen. “This man was intelligent, a fighter, a true leader,” says a passerby.