SEYI GESINDE takes a look at the new twist on the news surrounding the ailing former South African president, Nelson Mandela, as breaking news of his death went viral on the Internet on Thursday, especially Twitter.
People around the world seem to be bracing for what life will look like after the death of South African civil rights leader and former president, Nelson Mandela, who is spending the sixth day at a South African hospital as a result of what doctors diagnosed to be “serious lung infection.”
But as South Africans were praying and the whole word waited to hear good news about Nelson Mandela recovering from his health problem, Rafael Nadal, a Spanish professional tennis player and a former world number one, had confused over 4.5 million followers on his Twitter page, when he announced the death of Nelson Mandela.
He tweeted: “Today we have lost one of the most important and relevant people in our world. Rest in peace #NelsonMandela.”
A report said: “It looks like the Spanish tennis star dropped the ball when he went in for an early swing because Nelson Mandela was not dead.”
Nadal’s tweet was reportedly retweeted 2,380 times, “sending a wave of untimely condolences.”
However, Nadal later corrected his statement about half an hour after the first tweet. He deleted his previous tweet and retweeted: “I had incorrect information and for now #NelsonMandela has not left us. I hope he is with us much longer, what he did will be with us forever.”
He is not the only person guilty of tweeting Mandela’s fake death news.
On Monday, a Twitter account imitating that of CNN host, Piers Morgan tweeted the incorrect “breaking news” that Mandela had died.
Thereafter, the news began spreading all over the world, Nigeria especially, as many had started tweeting the news of Mandela’s death.
Mandela, who was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1964, was freed in 1990 and was elected first black president of South Africa four years.
During his reign, he helped to heal his country from many years of segregation.
He has this fatherly figure for South Africans and he is adored by many all over the world as a symbol of peace.
No wonder he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and at time, he was announced the Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
For his fatherly role over South Africans, South African President Jacob Zuma and Mandela’s aides have asked for prayers for quick recovery of the ailing Madiba, who is due to celebrate his 95th birthday July 18.
Even, the United States government seems to have perfected plans on how to respond to the death of a man regarded as the world legend, Nelson Mandela.
The Washington Examiner quoted a US official to have said that: “Washington is keeping a close eye on the former leader and civil rights hero.”
“It looks bad,” the official said.
Michelle Obama visited Mandela two years ago. Her husband, Barack, is planning a trip to Africa in early July and he would be stopping over in South Africa.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman, Jay Carney said the president wished Mandela a “speedy recovery.”
Also, there are expectations that President Barack Obama of the United States and possibly US former presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush would attend Mandela’s funeral.
However, reports said that no travel plans have been made.
On Saturday, a government spokesman said Mandela’s condition had “deteriorated.” On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said “his condition is unchanged.” Afterwards, he said Mandela was responding to treatment, but the situation still critical.
Now, the latest report from the government says “he is responding well to treatment in hospital.”
World leaders and the general global audience were shaken and disturbed, when President Zuma, on Saturday appealed for prayers and Mandela’s wife, children’s rights activist Graca Machel, cancelled a speech in Britain to remain by his side.
The call for prayers and the following news reports, to many were suggestive of probably Mandela was about breathing his last. This, coupled with a plea by Mandela’s long-standing associate, Andrew Mlangeni, asking South Africans and Mandela’s family to “let him go.”
The 87-year-old Mlangeni, who was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island, said it was time for Mandela’s “release.”
“We wish Madiba a speedy recovery, but I think what is important is that his family must release him,” Mlangeni was quoted as saying.
Also, Jackson Mthembu, spokesman for the African National Congress, had told Sky News that the party was “prepared for the worst.” Likewise, Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie had visited him in the hospital as if paying her last respect.
This is not the first time the world will be scared of reported death of Mandela.
In March, the news of Mandela’s death also spread on the Internet, during a period he got admitted to the hospital over his long infection, but he recovered.
Apart from his protracted lung infection, Mandela at a time was diagnosed for tuberculosis which he was said to have contracted while he was in jail. – NT