“The whole world must come together and pray for him,” Zacheus Phakathi, a security guard, said Sunday at an outdoor service on a hill overlooking Johannesburg.
In Pretoria, the capital, Henry Hyar, a restaurant waiter, standing by a hospital where Mandela is believed to be, said it was unfortunate that Mandela could not be with his family at home during Easter.
“I’m not happy about it,” Hyar said. “We’re praying for him to get better as soon as possible.”
On Saturday, Zuma’s office reported that Mandela was breathing without difficulty after having a procedure to clear fluid in his lung area.
Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after elections were held, bringing an end to the system of white racist rule known as apartheid. After his release from prison in 1990, Mandela was widely credited with averting even greater bloodshed by helping the country in the transition to democratic rule.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment for fighting white racist rule in his country.
The elderly are especially vulnerable to pneumonia, which can be fatal. Its symptoms include fever, chills, a cough, chest pain and shortness of breath. Many germs cause pneumonia.
The office of President Jacob Zuma has said doctors were acting with extreme caution because of the Mandela’s age.