Mandela: The waiting game

The street outside the clinic where Mandela is treated is lined with reporters, with little to report.


    No one knows for sure which hospital Nelson Mandela is in, but many journalists suspect it's the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

    Mandela was taken to hospital for a recurring lung infection on Saturday.

    The street outside the health facility is lined with reporters. We have done this many times before. Every time there is a Mandela health scare we park our satellite trucks outside the hospital. Cameras point at the entrance and we wait.

    I honestly can't tell you what we are expecting to see. After the third car goes in and out of the hospital there is nothing else to really talk about. All the cars have tinted windows so we can't see who is inside. Inevitably, some people speculate it could be Mandela family members.

    Family visits

    Then around 3.30pm Makaziwe Mandela, Ndileka Mandela (daughters of Mandela) and Tukwini Mandela (granddaughter) walk into the hospital.

    It's the second time on Sunday they have been here, even though there has been no official government statement on where Nelson Mandela is getting treatment.

    Actual official updates from the government come every so often, and so far they haven't been drastically different from the first one.

    This time the presidency says "Nelson Mandela is serious but stable".

    People who live in the area seem fascinated by our presence. It's mainly apartment buildings. Families are walking their dogs and children are playing on the street. We the journalists have invaded their usually quiet neighbourhood.

    There is a lot of foreign media here, so different accents can be heard and different languages.

    Some neighbours are curious, asking us questions about Mandela's condition and whether we have seen him.

    But some people are angry we are camping outside the hospital.

    Motorists drive past calling us "vultures", "unAfrican" and calling our behaviour "disgraceful".

    I wonder how many of these people will go home, turn on the TV or radio to find out how Madiba is doing?

    The truth is, love him or hate him, people around the world want to know how he is doing.

    So, the long line of media on the street in Pretoria won't be going anywhere anytime soon....unless Tata Madiba is released and goes home.



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