Anti-apartheid icon and Africa’s foremost elder statesman, Nelson Mandela, 94, who is recuperating from a lung infection in a South African military hospital since last weekend, has been honoured by that country’s president, Jacob Zuma.
Zuma unveiled a statue of Nelson Mandela on Thursday at Naval Hill Bloemfontein, which next week hosts the ruling African National Congress party’s convention.
According to Zuma, “We will be able to yet again pay tribute to a man who became a symbol of both our struggle for freedom and the free and democratic South Africa.”
“As we meet, Madiba is recuperating from a lung infection at a Pretoria hospital,” Zuma said, using Mandela’s clan name. “We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him yet again of the love and support of many in the country and abroad.”
President Jacob Zuma and other dignitaries later released doves at the unveiling ceremony of the 6.5-metre bronze statue.
The ANC president said the statue should also remind South Africa that its freedom should be handled with care by all, not just the government.
Zuma said people should keep on talking about Mandela and tell the real story of Madiba.
“If you honour him, you honour us. May the statue inspire all.”
In a related development, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said: “Doctors attending to former president Mandela continued to report that he was making progress and were satisfied with the way he was responding to treatment.”