Nelson Mandela’s tribal leaders have been told to prepare for the worst Because the former president, remains in hospital unable to breathe without support.
The advice comes after meetings with the family over the past two days.
Senior tribal leaders – including Mr Mandela’s tribal heir, grandson Mandla Mandela – are expected to visit the hospital for further talks with family members.
Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition, according to the South African government, and multiple sources have confirmed to Sky News that he is no longer able to breathe unassisted.
There are a series of tribal rituals that will be observed by the family and the nation throughout this period
Outside the Pretoria hospital where Mr Mandela has been treated for the past 19 days, well-wishers continue to lay flowers and cards supporting this national and world icon.
Police have increased security and blocked the road to traffic outside the rear entrance to the hospital.
An officer said this was to allow the free passage of family and VIPs who have been visiting the hospital throughout Mr Mandela’s stay.
For the first time the South African people appear to be accepting that the end of this remarkable life is approaching.
“He has done so much for this country, it is terribly sad but we have to accept it however hard it may seem,” said a lady reading messages pinned to the hospital wall.
The office of President Jacob Zuma says that Mr Mandela remains critical but the President, asking the nation to pray, added that South Africa had to accept that “Madiba is old”.
Update 27.06.2013 21
Mandelais Stable And ‘Trying To Open Eyes’
The President says Nelson Mandela’s condition has improved overnight, as the icon’s daughter slams media “vultures”.
Nelson Mandela’s daughter has hit out at “racists” and “vultures” in the media, as the presidency says the anti-apartheid icon has improved overnight.
After visiting him in his Pretoria hospital, Makaziwe Mandela said her father – who is reportedly no longer able to breathe unassisted – is still “very critical”.
“Anything is imminent, but I want to emphasise again that it is only God who knows when the time to go is,” she told the public broadcaster SABC.
“I won’t lie, it doesn’t look good. But as I say, if we speak to him, he responds and tries to open his eyes.
“He’s still there. He might be waning off, but he’s still there.”
She also criticised the “crass” media frenzy, likening the media to vultures
“It’s like truly vultures waiting when a lion has devoured a buffalo, waiting there you know for the last carcasses, that’s the image that we have as a family,” she said.
“And we don’t mind the interest but I just think that it has gone overboard.”
She also accused the foreign media of “a racist element” by crossing cultural boundaries.
“They violate all boundaries,” she said.
“Is it because we’re an African country that people just feel they can’t respect any laws of this country, they can violate everything in the book? I just think it’s in bad taste, it’s crass.”
Her comments come as South African President Jacob Zuma also visited Mr Mandela, saying the ailing former leader remained critical but stable.
“He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job,” Mr Zuma said in a statement.
The President abruptly cancelled a trip to Mozambique after making a late night visit to the revered former leader.
It is the first time Mr Zuma has scrapped a public engagement since Mr Mandela entered hospital on June 8.
A Sky News Correspondent who is outside the hospital, said the mood is celebratory.
A group of children released 95 white balloons after praying for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“There seems to be a determined effort to actually celebrate what Nelson Mandela has achieved throughout his life and pay homage to the fact that he is engaged in yet another fight right to the end,” Crawford said.
has paid tribute to Mr Mandela, saying he is a “hero for the world” whose legacy will live on throughout the ages.
Mr Obama is planning to visit South Africa on Friday as part of his African tour.
The White House has said that it will defer to Mr Mandela’s family over whether the President would visit his political hero in hospital.
The two men met in 2005 when Mr Obama was a newly elected senator and the former South African president was in Washington and have spoken by telephone since.
They have not met in person since then, although Michelle Obama met with Mr Mandela during a trip in 2011.
It has been said that Mr Obama May visit Mr Mandela
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route from Dakar, Senegal, to Johannesburg, the President said: “We’ll see what the situation is when we land.
“I don’t need a photo op and the last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned with Nelson Mandela’s condition.”
Mr Obama added: “I think the main message we’ll want to deliver, if not directly to him, but to his family, is simply profound gratitude for his leadership.”
Mr Obama was expected to meet with US consulate staff after arriving in Johannesburg on Friday. He wil then meet with South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday.
Mr Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was taken to hospital three weeks ago with recurrent lung problems.
He turns 95 next month.
Mr Obama, who is currently on a three-nation Africa tour, has led a chorus of support for the man he has dubbed a “hero for the world”.
“The President will be speaking to the legacy of Nelson Mandela and that will be a significant part of our time in South Africa,” said deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes.
“The President will treasure any opportunity he has to celebrate that legacy.”
The US President’s tour of Africa could yet be upended by sudden developments in Madiba’s condition.
The White House says it is in the hands of the Mandela family and the South African authorities on any aspect of the visit.
“We will obviously be very deferential to the developments that take place and the wishes of the family and the South African government,” Mr Rhodes said.
A visit by Mr Obama to Mr Mandela’s former jail cell on Robben Island, off Cape Town, on Sunday would now take on extra “profundity”, he added.
Mr Obama also visited the site in 2006 when he was the senator for Illinois.
Speaking in Senegal on the first leg of his long-awaited Africa trip, Mr Obama described Mandela as “a personal hero”.
“I think he is a hero for the world, and if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages,” he said.
Mr Obama landed in the Senegalese capital of Dakar on Wednesday night for the first leg of his three-country visit.
On his first day he visited the Senegalese island of Goree, from which Africans were shipped across the Atlantic into slavery.
He is scheduled to travel to Tanzania after leaving South AfricaTags: Nelson Mandela