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S. Africa Worries About Mandela

  • A man readies his shop near a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

    A man readies his shop near a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

  • A man readies his shop near a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

    A man readies his shop near a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

  • People take photos of the giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

    People take photos of the giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • People take photos of the giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

    People take photos of the giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • A woman walks past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

    A woman walks past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

  • A woman walks past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

    A woman walks past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

  • A newspaper vendor sells Sunday newspapers reporting on former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

    A newspaper vendor sells Sunday newspapers reporting on former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • A newspaper vendor sells Sunday newspapers reporting on former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

    A newspaper vendor sells Sunday newspapers reporting on former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • People walk past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

    People walk past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

  • People walk past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

    People walk past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, July 18, 2012 file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela as he celebrates his birthday with family in Qunu, South Africa. South African President Jacob Zuma says that former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests. Zuma issued a statement Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 saying that Mandela is "doing well and there is no cause for alarm." (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, July 18, 2012 file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela as he celebrates his birthday with family in Qunu, South Africa. South African President Jacob Zuma says that former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests. Zuma issued a statement Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 saying that Mandela is "doing well and there is no cause for alarm." (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)

  • FILE -In this June 17, 2010 file photo, former South African President, Nelson Mandela  leaves the chapel after attending the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.  South African President Jacob Zuma says that former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests. Zuma issued a statement Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 saying that Mandela is "doing well and there is no cause for alarm." (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool, File)

    FILE -In this June 17, 2010 file photo, former South African President, Nelson Mandela leaves the chapel after attending the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. South African President Jacob Zuma says that former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests. Zuma issued a statement Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 saying that Mandela is "doing well and there is no cause for alarm." (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool, File)

  • A man readies his shop near a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)
  • A man readies his shop near a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)
  • People take photos of the giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
  • People take photos of the giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, in Mandela Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
  • A woman walks past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)
  • A woman walks past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)
  • A newspaper vendor sells Sunday newspapers reporting on former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
  • A newspaper vendor sells Sunday newspapers reporting on former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. South Africans prayed Sunday for the health of former President Nelson Mandela and anxiously awaited further word about the anti-apartheid leader after he was admitted to a military hospital. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela Sunday morning at the hospital in Pretoria and found the frail 94-year-old to be "comfortable and in good care," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital Saturday.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
  • People walk past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)
  • People walk past a mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. South Africa’s presidency says that Mandela, 94, was admitted to a hospital Saturday in the nation’s capital for tests. (AP Photos/Jon Gambrell)
  • FILE - In this Wednesday, July 18, 2012 file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela as he celebrates his birthday with family in Qunu, South Africa. South African President Jacob Zuma says that former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests. Zuma issued a statement Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 saying that Mandela is "doing well and there is no cause for alarm." (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)
  • FILE -In this June 17, 2010 file photo, former South African President, Nelson Mandela  leaves the chapel after attending the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.  South African President Jacob Zuma says that former President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests. Zuma issued a statement Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 saying that Mandela is "doing well and there is no cause for alarm." (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool, File)

Johannesburg — Inside a Catholic church that once served as a major rallying point for anti-apartheid activists, a gray-suited Nelson Mandela appears in stained-glass window that also features angels and the cross.

Worshippers here prayed yesterday for the hospitalized 94-year-old former president, who remains almost a secular saint and a father figure to many in South Africa, a nation of 50 million people that has Africa’s top economy.

Mandela’s admission to the hospital this weekend for unspecified medical tests sparked screaming newspapers headlines and ripples of fear in the public that the frail leader is fading further away.

And as his African National Congress political party stands ready to pick its leader who likely will be the nation’s next president, some believe governing party politicians have abandoned Mandela’s integrity and magnanimity in a seemingly unending string of corruption scandals. That leaves many wondering who can lead the country the way the ailing Mandela once did.

“When you have someone that’s willing to lead by example like he did, it makes things easier for people to follow,” said Thabile Manana, who worshipped yesterday at Soweto’s Regina Mundi Catholic church. “Lately, the examples are not so nice. It’s hard. I’m scared for the country.”

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule, became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. The Nobel laureate later retired from public life to live in his remote village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape area, and last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

On Saturday, the office of President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela had been admitted to a Pretoria hospital for medical tests and care that was “consistent for his age.” Zuma visited Mandela yesterday morning at the hospital and found the former leader to be “comfortable and in good care,” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Maharaj offered no other details about Mandela, nor what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital.

In February, Mandela spent a night in a hospital for a minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint. In January 2011, Mandela was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection.

Mandela has had other health problems in the past. He contracted tuberculosis during his years in prison and had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985. In 2001, Mandela underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, ultimately beating back the disease.

While South Africa’s government has offered no details about where Mandela is receiving treatment, the nation’s military has taken over medical care for the aging leader since the 2011 respiratory infection. At 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria yesterday, the facility that previously cared for Mandela in February, soldiers set up a checkpoint to search vehicles heading into the hospital’s grounds. A convoy of cars with flashing lights and sirens entered the hospital grounds yesterday afternoon.