Pretoria: South Africans united to offer prayers for ailing national icon Nelson Mandela yesterday, who is spending a third day in hospital for undefined tests.
Discussion about the health of the anti-apartheid leader featured prominently in newspapers, church services, social media feeds and conversations across the rainbow nation.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known by South Africans, retains a prominent place in the national psyche, despite leaving office more than a decade ago — a lifetime ago in the quick-moving politics of this born-again nation. "Nation prays for Madiba" was the front-page headline in the Sowetan daily attempting to capture the zeitgeist of a nation.
"The fact is that when Madiba sneezes, South Africa — and the rest of the world — catches a cold," the paper said in an editorial.
"We love Madiba, we feel every inch of anxiety, stress and pain with the rest of his close and distant family. And like concerned loved ones, we want to know how he is doing."
Mandela was flown from his home village to a hospital in the capital Pretoria on Saturday.