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Mr. Mandela’s hospitalization quickly dominated news coverage in South Africa, where most have been focused on the upcoming ANC national convention later this month in Mangaung.

There, the party that has governed South Africa since Mr. Mandela’s election will pick either pick a new leader or re-elect Mr. Zuma to helm the organization. Becoming leader of the ANC means a nearly automatic ticket to becoming the president in post-apartheid South Africa.