Mandela family holds emergency meeting in Qunu


Former South African president Nelson Mandela is pictured during a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (not pictured) at his hotel, in central London, on June 24, 2008.


Dylan Martinez

Former South African president Nelson Mandela’s family held an emergency meeting at his house in Qunu Tuesday, as the leader spent a third day in critical condition at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

Mandela has been hospitalized for a recurrent lung infection since June 8.

More from GlobalPost: Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition

Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, at least two grandchildren, and clan elders attended the meeting, according to the New York Times.

Family member Naplisi Mandela told the South African Press Association that they had gathered to discuss “delicate matters” — understood to mean preparations for Mandela’s death.

Several cars were spotted at the private Mandela family gravesite in Qunu, across the street from Mandela’s house, the South African Mail & Guardian reported.

According to the Mail & Guardian:

Often in Xhosa custom, a family visits a gravesite when they sense that a member might soon join the ancestors, or to speak to the ancestors to spare them for a while longer.

Meanwhile, dozens of supporters and journalists kept up their vigil outside the hospital.

"He is our hero. He is my mentor, my father. He is everything to me," Kuda Nyahumzvi, 36, told CNN at the scene. "But when it is his time, we wish his soul could just rest. He spent so long in jail and struggling."


[View the story "Mandela: An outpouring of online love" on Storify]