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Mandela's wife says his 'sparkle, spirit fading'
11/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter I Agencies
 
Hospitalised ... Nelson Mandela
 
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THE WIFE of ailing former South African president Nelson Mandela has intimated the hospitalised icon may be in his final days, telling the media that “his sparkle is fading.”

Mandela, 94, is suffering from a recurring lung infection and is responding to medical treatments, the presidency said Tuesday.

He has been hospitalized since Saturday for medical tests at a military hospital near Pretoria.

"I mean, this spirit and this sparkle, you see that somehow it's fading," Mandela’s wife Graça Machel told eNews Channel Africa. She said watching her husband ageing has particularly been agonizing for her.

His granddaughter Ndileka said he was handling the situation as best as he could.

"I think he takes it in his strides, he has come to accept that it's part of growing old, and it's part of humanity as such,” she told the Telegraph. “At some point you will dependent on someone else, he has come to embrace it.”

A statement issued by the presidency said "doctors have concluded the tests and these have revealed a recurrence of a previous lung infection, for which Madiba is receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment."

The announcement ended speculation about what was troubling anti-apartheid icon.

Government officials had declined repeatedly to say what caused the nation's military, responsible for Mandela's care, to hospitalize the leader over the last few days.

That caused growing concern in South Africa, a nation of 50 million people that largely reveres Mandela for being the nation's first democratically elected president who sought to bring the country together after centuries of racial division.

In January 2011, Mandela was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection.

The chaos that followed Mandela's stay at that public hospital, with journalists and the curious surrounding it and entering wards, saw the South African military take charge of his care and the government control the information about his health.

In recent days many in the press and public have complained about the lack of concrete details that the government has released about Mandela's condition.

Mandela has had a series of health problems in his life. He contracted tuberculosis during his years in prison and had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985. In 2001, Mandela underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, ultimately beating the disease.

In February, Mandela spent a night in a hospital for a minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint.

Mandela was a leader in the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa and for preaching reconciliation once he emerged from prison in 1990 after 27 years behind bars. He won South Africa's first truly democratic elections in 1994, serving one five-year term.



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The Nobel laureate later retired from public life to live in his remote village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, and last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

Mandela disengaged himself with the country's politics fairly successfully over the last decade and has grown increasing frail in recent years.
 


 
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