The world pays tribute to Mandela (slideshow)
As South Africans come to terms with the loss of former president Nelson Mandela, the rest of the world bids farewell to Madiba.

Pimples: Saving Madiba's rabbit (video)
Gwede, Mac and Blade try their best to stop the rabbit from whispering in Mandela's ear. But the elusive animal has some tricks up its sleeve.

Zapiro's best Madiba cartoons (slideshow)
From his toughest moments to his most triumphant, Madiba has been an inspiration. Here are some of our favourite Zapiro cartoons about him from 1994 to 2013.

Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
The world watched as Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu following a dignified and moving funeral ceremony on Sunday.
PW Botha can't bring himself to free Nelson Mandela; but he also can't hold him forever.

That the State President is a prisoner of the situation, unable to move in either direction, was made clear yesterday in Botha’s speech to the Natal Congress of the National Party in Durban. He can't keep the African National Congress leader in prison indefinitely because it is increasingly apparent that international pressure will continue and there will be little prospect for progress in his government's "reform" policies. Black leaders, including most of the moderates, have made Mandela's release a precondition for participating in the “reform" process.

On the other hand, Botha fears the to predictable result of releasing Mandela particularly when the crucial October municipal elections are only two months away. 'Mandela's illness this week brought home the danger of the 70-year-old resistance leader dying in prison. That prospect - and the likelihood of severe repercussions  - must be why Botha broke from his   prepared speech yesterday to address the issue for the second day in a row. It may also account for the noticeably softer tone adopted by Botha.

Earlier this week, in an extraordinary reply to a letter from Frank Chikane, South African Council of Churches general-secretary, Botha said Mandela was a "special" prisoner and that he was "even more concerned" with Mandela's health than was the SACC. And yesterday, Botha told the Natal Congress: "Personally I don't think that at his age and condition it would be wise for him to choose to go back to prison and I hope he will make it possible for me w act in a humane way so that we can have peace in South Africa "

This attitude was taken even further by Information Minister Dr Stoffel van der Merwe at a Pretoria press function. The government would like to see Mandela released from prison, Van Der Merwe said. There was no reason why the South African government should keep him in jail. The level of government concern was shown by the fact that Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee personally visited Mandela in hospital on Wednesday.

Botha may have softened his tone but he reiterated his condition for Mandela's release: that he renounce violence as a political weapon and undertake not to campaign for the process of violence in South Africa. Mandela has repeatedly made it clear he won't play along with this. He won't renounce violence - and let Botha out of his dilemma. The fact that Mandela has tuberculosis provides Botha with an opportunity to break the logjam. He could say he was releasing Mandela for humanitarian reasons, and not because of foreign or local pressure or because of a "softness" that the far rightwing would exploit.

This was the position argued yesterday by Beeld, the government- supporting newspaper, reiterating its view on Mandela's incarceration: "If a more opportune time is being awaited to release Mandela, we can say now it will never dawn." However, it is widely held that the government is not considering Mandela’s before the elections for fear it will disrupt the process. Van der Merwe said yesterday there had definitely not been any decision to release Mandela before October. Botha said he was not going to be told what to do by the press or by "communists".

He also lashed out at Beeld for "irresponsible journalism". "The government, in a responsible way, will consider the matter and if we get the co-operation we have so far got from Mr Mandela, I believe we will get positive results," he said. Van der Merwe also gave a mixed message. He said the government's attitude to Mandela's release remained flexible and was subject to changing circumstances. Botha was doing what he could to remove the obstacles to Mandela's release. But, he added "as long as a person remains committed to undermining law and order, he cannot be released." Even should Mandela renounce violence, he could well "turn around" on the statement after being released, Van der Merwe said. 

  • White Tygerherg Hospital representatives have maintained an official silence, a top government source was reported yesterday to have confirmed Mandela had TB. His prognosis was good and he was "up and about', said chief medical superintendent Dr JGL Strauss. Earlier, this week, a statement from ANC headquarters in Lusaka expressed serious concern at Mandela's condition, saying it had reliably learnt that Mandela had spent a week in bed unable to eat or exercise and experiencing speech difficulties before he was hospitalised. The South African Prisons Service responded by saying that his complaint had been treated promptly "since July 28" and that during this process it was recommended he be transferred to hospital. 
  • Medical experts told the Weekly Mail tuberculosis could be contracted in two ways: the offending organism could be inhaled, or it could become reactivated after being carried in the body for years, often since childhood. There is currently a TB epidemic in the Cape, which meant most people in Cape Town were at risk of catching it one doctor said. Depending on a person's immune response system, an infected person could either shake it off or fall prey to the disease. Treatment took about five months. Modern TB therapy was capable of curing sufferers of any age group. - Anton Harber, Carmel Rickard & Gaye Davis

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.