The Sunday Times, a South African newspaper, ran the headline, “It’s time to let him go,” on Sunday. Those were the words expressed by Andrew Mlangeni, an 87-year-old longtime friend of Nelson Mandela. Similar to Mandela, Mlangeni was also sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.
The Sunday Times reported that upon hearing the news that the South African’s former president had been hospitalized for a fourth time since December, Mlangeni said:
"We wish Madiba a speedy recovery, but I think what is important is that his family must release him. You [Mandela] have been coming to the hospital too many times. Quite clearly you are not well and there is a possibility you might not be well again.
"Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too," Mlangeni added.
Unlike most power greedy, rampantly corrupt and election rigging leaders in Africa, Mandela gracefully step down after one term to devote his energies to fighting AIDS and championing children in need.
Mandela, the "Father of the Nation," is affectionately known in South Africa as Madiba – a name from his Xhosa tribe.