Nelson Mandela Said To Be In Critical Condition

Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s health condition seems to have taken a turn for the worse:

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela is in a “critical” condition, the South African president’s office said on Sunday evening, just over three weeks after the former president was hospitalized with a serious lung infection.

Doctors told President Jacob Zuma on Sunday evening that Mr. Mandela’s health “had become critical over the past 24 hours,” the statement said.

Mr. Zuma learned the news while visiting Mr. Mandela, 94, at the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated, along with Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress party.

In the statement, Mr. Zuma said that doctors were doing “everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable.” Madiba is Mr. Mandela’s clan name.

The language used in the statement was the strongest yet concerning the health of Mr. Mandela, whose progress has been a matter of intense concern since he was rushed to hospital in the early hours of June 8.

Just on Saturday, the presidency, seeking to play down news reports about Mr. Mandela’s deteriorating health, described his condition as “serious but stable.”

Mr. Mandela, who was freed by the apartheid government in 1990 after 27 years of imprisonment, became South Africa’s first black president after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. He retired from public life in 2004.

He has not been seen in public since the World Cup soccer final in South Africa in July 2010 and has been hospitalized four times since December, mostly for the pulmonary condition that has plagued him for years.

The South African government faced criticism over the weekend after it confirmed reports that the ambulance carrying Mr. Mandela to hospital on June 8 had broken down, leaving him waiting on the roadside for 40 minutes until a replacement vehicle arrived.

One hopes that the former President is at least comfortable and without pain at this point.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t think there’s been a greater public man in my lifetime.

  2. anjin-san says:

    An irreplaceable man.