Former South African president Nelson Mandela is being held up in prayer by family, friends and the religious community. (Google Images)
Former South African president Nelson Mandela is being held up in prayer by family, friends and the religious community. (Google Images)

The New York Times is reporting that family members are holding a vigil for ailing anti-Apartheid activist and icon Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela had been suffering from a lung infection and reportedly took a turn for the worse over the weekend when his health status was changed to critical by hospital officials.

Declan Walsh of the New York Times is reporting that singing crowds gathered outside the hospital where Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former president, lay in a critical state for a third consecutive day on Tuesday, as family members held an emergency meeting at his ancestral village.

Walsh writes:

“Mr. Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, at least two grandchildren and clan elders gathered at Mr. Mandela’s retirement house in Qunu, the remote southern village where he grew up, according to news media reports.

The subject of the meeting was not publicly disclosed, but Naplisi Mandela, an elder of the Mandela family, told the South African Press Association that they had gathered to discuss ‘delicate matters’ — a euphemism widely interpreted to mean preparations for Mr. Mandela’s death.”

CNN is reporting that Cape Town’s archbishop led Mr. Mandela’s family in prayer on Tuesday, calling for “a quiet night and a peaceful, perfect, end” for the former South African president.

Robyn Curnow and Brent Swails write:

“Archbishop Thabo Makgoba prayed with Mandela’s family at the Pretoria hospital where the anti-apartheid icon remains in critical condition, the South African Press Association reported.

‘Fill them with your holy courage and the gift of trusting faith, and take away their fears so that they may dare to face their grief,’ he said, according to a copy of the prayer posted on the bishop’s website.”

Read more at NYT or CNN.

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