A longtime friend of Nelson Mandela, Andrew Mlangeni, told the South African Sunday Times that “it’s time to let him go,” saying the beloved first black president is “quite clearly not well” after being hospitalized again on Saturday. “Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow,” Mlangeni said. “We say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too.” Mandela has not appeared in public since the 2010 World Cup, but he still retains his popularity in South Africa—with his face on banknotes issued just last year. The current president’s website crashed on Saturday, and his office did not issue any updates on Mandela’s condition, although reports said Mandela is breathing on his own.
ICON Schalk van Zuydam/AP