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South Africa's de Klerk undergoes heart surgery

July 2, 2013

F.W. de Klerk served as President of South Africa in the final days of the nation's discriminatory apartheid system, and worked with Nelson Mandela and his contemporaries to bring about its end. The two jointly earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, in recognition of their efforts. On July 1, de Klerk was hospitalized and underwent a surgical procedure, which included the implantation of a pacemaker to address cardiac issues, according to BBC News. Coming on the heels of Mandela's ongoing hospitalization, this event is disheartening for South African citizens. Those with relatives living in the nation may want to reach out to them using international calling cards.

The news source reported that de Klerk had returned to Cape Town earlier than expected from a trip to the European continent after feeling ill and dizzy. An official release from the former president's foundation summarized the situation.

"He has had several such [dizzy] spells in recent weeks and his specialist recommended the immediate installation of of a pacemaker," the statement read.

De Klerk is expected to remain in the hospital overnight on July 2, and further details regarding his recovery are currently unclear.

Meanwhile, Mandela's condition is critical but stable, according to South African President Jacob Zuma. His illness has led to an outpouring of support from the nation's people. As an example of this, both South Africa's national soccer club and its rugby team will be playing in the same arena - FNB Stadium - that hosted the 1995 rugby World Cup where the nation was triumphant, on August 17. According to The Associated Press, the stadium is also the site of the first rally Mandela held after his release from a 27-year prison term in 1990.

Henceforth, August 17 will be Nelson Mandela Sports Day. South Africa's sports ministry stated that the holiday's inception was bittersweet, occurring at "a time when South Africa is a nation in distress following the hospitalization [of] our father and icon Nelson Mandela, who also happens to be the primary inspiration behind this initiative."

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