Tutu visits Mandela in hospital
On Friday Tutu spoke of how the ailing elder statesman had united the nation. Tutu visited a wall featuring messages of support for Mandela before speaking to media gathered outside.
He said the country needed to give thanks to God for the gift of an incredible man like Madiba who inspired a nation. "He inspired us to become a great country and the world to become compassionate," he said. He said the iconic leader who was spending his 41st day in hospital due to a recurring lung infection was asleep but he managed to touch him and hold his hand.
Tutu praised Mandela's current and ex-wives. He described the Mandela family as wonderful. Speaking about Mandela's 67 minutes, Tutu said the country could give one gift to Madiba. "The gift is to stop littering for the entire year," he said as he chuckled. Speaking about Mandela, he said Friday was not as busy as other days outside the hospital. The large media contingent that has come to be associated with the area has decreased. Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Foundation thanked South Africans and the world on Friday for supporting Mandela Day. In 2009, July 18, Mandela's birthday, was declared as Mandela Day in South Africa to honour the former statesman. The United Nations also declared July 18 as International Nelson Mandela Day.
The Foundation's chief executive Hatang thanked the Mandela family, President Jacob Zuma, the media and "public citizens both locally and internationally" among others for their contributions.
"Key to this day and initiative is to remember, it's in your hands to make every day a Mandela Day," he said. "It is our duty to continue to grow the momentum that you have all already inspired to promote and realise social justice."
Mandela spent his 95th birthday at the hospital in Pretoria. He was admitted on June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement on Thursday that Mandela's health was steadily improving.