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South Africa: Power of prayer summoned for Mandela

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M/S Religious leaders outside Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital C/U Man holds book in leather case M/S Religious leaders outside Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital W/S M/S Religious leaders outside Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital SOT. Rev. Isaac M Mtsweni: "We have come to pray for the former President Nelson Mandela, even though we've been told that we are unable to go inside the hospital but we trust that the prayer we have made here is able to get in to the ICU and the doctor". Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital W/S Journalist and vehicles outside hospital SOT. Rev. Isaac M Mtsweni: "Today we are having a new South Africa because of him so we realize that now that we cannot leave the old man to be alone in his struggling to live". W/S Police stand guard at hospital entrance SCRIPT South Africa: Power of prayer summoned for Mandela As revolutionary anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela lay in Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital for the seventh day Friday, a delegation of Catholic priests prayed just outside the hospital gates. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is battling a recurring lung infection dating back to his time in prison on Robben Island where he spent the majority of his 27-year incarceration. Rev. Isaac M Mtsweni, a priest, explained: "We have come to pray for the former President Nelson Mandela, even though we've been told that we are unable to go inside the hospital we trust that the prayer we have made here is able to get in to the ICU and the doctors". Mtsweni praised the leader, acknowledging his transformation of apartheid South Africa from white minority rule to a democratic state. "Today we are having a new South Africa because of him so we realize now that we cannot leave the old man to be alone in the struggling to live," he said. Also among Mandela's visitors this week has been South Africa's president Jacob Zuma, who reported Thursday that the ailing icon's health is continuing to improve, but that he remains in a serious condition. Family members and young children carrying colourful balloons and singing in his honour also flocked to bid the leader good wishes. This latest hospital admission comes barely two months after Mandela's last hospital visit. His last discharge came on April 6, after doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from around his lungs. Mandela, former president of the anti-apartheid African National Congress party, became South Africa's first black president in 1994. He retired from public life in 2004, making his most recent public appearance in 2010 at the World Cup football tournament, hosted by South Africa.