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South Africa Braces for Mandela Farewell

'If it's his time to go, he can go'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2013 6:24 AM CDT
South Africa Braces for Mandela Farewell
A pedestrian walks beneath two giant portraits outside the City Hall in Cape Town, South Africa, Monday, June 24, 2013 at the spot where, on the balcony, former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, made his first public speech after being released from 27 years imprisonment. Mandela's health has deteriorated...   (AP Photo/Masixole Feni)

(Newser) – With Nelson Mandela's condition said to be critical, South Africans—who'd been praying for his recovery—are now preparing to bid goodbye to the former president, with Reuters citing "a perceptible change in mood." "If it's his time to go, he can go. I wish God can look after him," says a nurse. Others worry the hospital is artificially extending his life. "The man is old. Let nature take its course. He must just rest," says one.

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President Jacob Zuma weighed in on Mandela's health after visiting him last night. "All of us in the country must accept that Madiba is now old. As he ages, his health will trouble him," he said. "Given the hour, he was already asleep. We saw him ... and then we had a bit of a discussion with the doctors and his wife," Zuma noted. "I don't think I'm in a position to give further details." (Read more Nelson Mandela stories.)

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