Old TV footage sparks tweets over Mandela's health
Johannesburg: A series of tweets mistakenly
announced that Nelson Mandela was hospitalised on Friday after a
local television channel showed archive footage of his January
illness in a review of 2011.
South Africa's presidency had to issue an assurance of
Mandela's good health at his rural homestead to quell the
"Former President Nelson Mandela is in good health, good
spirits and enjoying the festive season at his home in Qunu,"
presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
"The Presidency has received calls from the media
enquiring about Madiba's health," he said, using Mandela's
"It appears that an end of year review done by a media
house may have unfortunately triggered a rumour of
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which guards the
anti-apartheid struggle icon's legacy, also denied the
The News channel today broadcast images of Mandela's
hospitalisation for an acute respiratory infection in January,
as part of an overview of the past year's news events.
This sparked a series of alarmist posts on the
micro-blogging site Twitter, picked up even by foreign affairs
spokesman Clayson Monyela.
Monyela later removed his tweet "Pray for Tata", which
referred to Mandela with a term of respect.
Following his release from hospital, Mandela settled at
his rural home in the Eastern Cape province 800 kilometres
The frail 93-year-old's health has sparked intense
national and international media attention.
Rumours over his health periodically flare up on social
Mandela was elected the country's first black president
in South Africa's first all-race vote in 1994 and served one
term before stepping down in 1999.