Mandela's Family: He Is On His Deathbed But Continues Fighting

Mandela's Family: He Is On His Deathbed But Continues Fighting

Ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is not "doing well"  but is continuing to put up a courageous fight from his "deathbed", according to his family.

His daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, said in an interview: "Tata is still with us, strong, courageous. Even for a lack of a better word... on his "deathbed" he is teaching us lessons: lessons in patience, in love, lessons of tolerance.

"Every moment I get with him I'm amazed. There are times where I have to pinch myself that I come from this man who is a fighter even though you can see he is struggling, but fighting spirit is still there with him."

Mandela spent almost three months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted in June with a recurring lung infection.

The 95-year-old liberation struggle icon was discharged in September and has been receiving home-based medical attention since then.

Since June the Presidency has consistently described his condition as "critical but stable".

"He is still with us although he is not doing well in bed," his grandson, Ndaba Mandela said.

Last month Mr Mandela's oldest grandson, Mandla Mandela said he found him in a "good state."

"He is still progressing steadily but very much under a critical condition," Mandla Mandela told reporters.

However, Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told a local newspaper that he remains "quite ill" and is unable to speak because of tubes being used to clear his lungs of liquid.

He is using facial expressions to communicate, Ms Madikizela-Mandela added. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is under the care of 22 doctors.

While his pneumonia has cleared, his lungs remain sensitive, Ms Madikizela-Mandela said, adding that it was "difficult for him".

"He remains very sensitive to any germs, so he has to be kept literally sterile. The bedroom there is like an ICU (intensive care unit) ward," she said.

"He remains quite ill, but thank God the doctors were able to pull him through from that (last) infection."

His lung problems date back to his time in jail when he was diagnosed with early stage tuberculosis.

Mr Mandela, who spent 27 years in apartheid jails before becoming South Africa's first black leader, has faced several health scares.

His most recent 86-day hospital stay was his longest since he walked free from prison in 1990.

Mr Mandela has been in and out of hospital since last year with lung-related complications.

A globally admired figure for steering South Africa peacefully into democracy, Mandela's health problems prompted outpourings of well wishes around the world.


Online view pixel