Mandela receives unexpected Christmas present

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Former President Nelson Mandela has received an unexpected Christmas present -- an abandoned child who is severely disabled.
The young boy was found abandoned at Mandela's Qunu home in the Eastern Cape on Monday, a day after Mandela hosted his annual Christmas party, which attracted more than 20,000 people.
The child is mentally and physically disabled and suffers from cerebral palsy.
Staff at Mandela's house say the child is unable to say his own name and they believe he was deliberately abandoned as nobody has claimed him.
The child is being kept at the Happy Home Disabled Children's Centre in Umtata, which Mandela helped to establish.
The incident capped a nightmare weekend for Mandela after several children were injured at the party, which he hosted with American television star Oprah Winfrey.
Gifts for 20,000 children and food parcels for 15,000 people had been prepared for the visitors but many more people had turned up at the event.
The situation deteriorated when a large number of people were trapped against fences as the crowd surged forward.
Terrified young children had to be passed over the heads of adults to prevent them from suffocating.
The fences were also cut by security guards to prevent serious injuries.

24 december 2002 12:31:00




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