President Zuma meets Mandela

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma visited former president Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Wednesday ahead of his 94th birthday next week.

It was a bitter-sweet occasion for the past and present Presidents, as it coincided with news that Mandela’s cousin and childhood friend Sitsheketshe Mandela had died.

The Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha confirmed that Sitsheketshe died earlier in the day at the age of 80 from lung cancer.

His mother, who was Mandela's mother's sister, died giving birth to him  in 1934 and he grew up with Mandela in the same household in Qunu.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its Youth League sent condolences to the Mandela family.

“The ANC believes that Sitsheketshe Mandela was a significant part of the Mandela family and played a crucial role in the affairs of the family and that his departure will leave behind him a void that nobody will fill,” said spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

Despite the setback, President Zuma said he enjoyed the visit with Mandela who was in good health.  

"It was a delight to see him as always. I was particularly happy that I had an opportunity to give him good wishes for his upcoming birthday," President Zuma said. "I also informed him that, as usual, all South Africans are waiting for the 18th of July, preparing to wish him a happy birthday in every possible way."
-0- PANA CU/SEG 12July2012

12 july 2012 12:13:30

xhtml CSS