12 Jul 2013 11:19

JOHANNEBSURG, July 5 (Bernama) -- As the Mandela Day is upcoming on July 18, South Africans on Thursday said they will construct a children's hospital here to keep Mandela's legacy alive.

On Thursday many people and organisations made pledges to the construction of the Mandela children's hospital at Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

The Mandela Day is celebrated internationally every year in honour of the anti-apartheid icon.

Mandela's wife Graca Machel said, "Mandela was touched by the suffering of children who did not have food and access to health, and he has dreamed of establishing such a hospital."

On Thursday the 94-year-old former president Mandela is spending his 26th day at the Pretoria hospital since he was admitted there from his Johannesburg residence with the serious recurring lung infection on June 8.

The Presidency on Thursday announced Mandela remained in a critical but stable condition.

"Mandela once met some children who had no shelter and were hungry at night. He told me to spearhead the establishing of the children's hospital," she said.

"He was concerned when children died because they could not access specialised services because it was not available in some hospitals. He is passionate about the care and protection of the children," she added.

Graca Machel called for people to keep the Mandela legacy by making his dream a reality.

She stressed that the hospital will train health care specialists from Southern African countries since Mandela is a global icon.

The hospital will do a lot of research and visit remote rural areas and interact with the community, she suggested.

On Thursday Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula announced that they will have Nelson Mandela Sports Day as part of marking the Mandela Day on July 18.

The proceeds from this event will be donated to the fund of the Mandela children's hospital, said he.

"Mandela legacy will never die as long as the masses are moving on his footsteps. The Rainbow nation which Mandela passionately spoke about will live forever," said he.

The South African popular poet Mzwakhe Mbuli told Xinhua, "After 27 years in prison, Mandela came out, sat on the same table with the architects of apartheid and forgave his oppressors. He has been humble and reconciliatory, standing for peace and unity."