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Jun 24, 2013
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Gloomy news ahead, fellas: We may be saying goodbye to a worldwide icon real soon.

It has come to our attention that former South African president Nelson Mandela is now in critical condition, two weeks after being brought to a hospital because of a lung infection.

A government statement said that SA President Jacob Zuma and African National Congress (ANC) deputy leader Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela in his Pretoria hospital, and explained that the 94-year-old global icon's condition have worsened in the last 24 hours. It is also worth noting that this is his fourth hospitalization in six months.

Nelson Mandela                                                                                  Image c/o Retronaut.com

"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that [Mandela] is well looked after and is comfortable," the statement adds. His condition was previously described as "serious but stable," but Mandela family members and his presidential successor, Thabo Mbecki, recently suggested he ain't doing so good at the moment.

"Obviously we are very worried," said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu last week. "We are praying for him, his family, and his doctors." The South African media have also started contemplating on Mandela's eventual passing, with one of the publications carrying a front-page headline saying it was "time to let him go."

Nelson Mandela                                                                                      Image c/o Retronaut.com

For those who aren't in the know, Nelson Mandela was South Africa's first black president. After spending nearly three decades in prison for fighting the opression and racism brought about by the almost 300 years of white domination, he became a vital figure in establishing an anti-apartheid movement and a peaceful transition to democracy in 1994.

A perpetual icon in the African-American community, Mandela would go on to be portrayed in films by Sidney Poitier (Mandela and de Klerk), Dennis Haysbert (Goodbye Bafana), David Harewood (Mrs. Mandela), and Morgan Freeman (Invictus) in the years that followed. Stevie Wonder even dedicated this Oscar-winning song for Nelson in 1985:

                                     



Since stepping down as president, Mandela has distanced himself from politics, but continued to make good of his larger than life influence for democracy's sake. Despite all the nation-defining policies in the past decade however, South Africa remains to be one of the world's most unequal societies, with the average white household earning six times more than a black one.

We can only hope that the country finds the silver lining in this gloomy situation (i.e. a chance to reinforce more policies on equal rights as a way to honor Mandela's legacy). "He will be gone but his teachings, what he stood for, I'm sure we've all learned and we should be able to  live with it and reproduce it wherever we go," says one of the locals. "We are grateful for it and we are willing to do the good that he has done."

But hey, don't go mournin' on him just yet! Dear Nelson, we're still wishing you a speedy recovery. Power through, idol! Our prayers are with you.

To know more about da man, check out Oprah's 2000 interview with Mr. Mandela below:

                                     
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