Mandela: I’m losing hope –Wife

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• Says Madiba has lost his sparkle

Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela has said that she is losing hope as the icon battles lung infection. Speaking to a local television station, Machel said it was painful to see her husband “ageing”. “I mean, this spirit and this sparkle, you see that somehow it’s fading,” she told ENews Central Africa. “To see him ageing, it’s something also which pains you …

You understand and you know it has to happen.” Mandela’s grand-daughter Ndileka told the same TV network that he had come to accept his condition. “I think he takes it in his stride, he has come to accept that it’s part of growing old, and it’s part of humanity as such,” she said. “At some point you will depend on someone else, he has come to embrace it.”

Military doctors are treating Mandela for a recurring lung infection, an ailment the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader remains susceptible to because of his age and his 27 years in prison. Government officials acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the illness forced soldiers to admit Mandela to a military hospital at the weekend, though they said the politician was responding to treatment. Mandela fought off a similar infection in 2011 and once contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned.

Medical experts said respiratory illnesses like pneumonia striking a man his age are a serious matter that require care and monitoring. “They call pneumonia ‘the old man’s friend’ because it is the thing that ultimately carries many people off,” said Dr. Peter Openshaw, the director of the Center for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College’s National Heart and Lung Institute in London. “What I guess they’ll be doing is trying to find out exactly which type of infection it is and then to give it the most appropriate treatment.

With modern antibiotics and investigation, then there’s no reason a chest infection by itself should be untreatable.” The announcement ended speculation about what was troubling the ailing Mandela. His ongoing hospitalization has 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.

The tests Mandela underwent at 1 Military Hospital near South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, detected the lung infection, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. “Madiba is receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment,” Maharaj said, referring to Mandela by his clan name as many do in South Africa in a sign of affection. 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 a history with lung problems. He fell ill with tuberculosis in 1988 toward the tail-end of his prison years, after he had been moved from the notorious Robben Island and to another jail to ease the apartheid government’s efforts to negotiate with him about a possible release. At first, doctors were uncertain why Mandela had a persistent cough that ultimately caused him to collapse during a meeting with his lawyer. After being taken to a Cape Town hospital, a doctor told him he had water in his lungs. Mandela initially refused to believe the doctor, he wrote in his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom.”

“With a hint of annoyance, (the doctor) said, ‘Mandela, take a look at your chest,’” Mandela recounted. “He pointed out that one side of my chest was actually larger than the other.” Surgeons immediately cut into Mandela’s chest and removed two liters (half a gallon) of liquid from his lungs, which tested positive for tuberculosis. Doctors at the time suggested Mandela contracted the disease from his damp prison cell. About 1.4 million people worldwide die each year from tuberculosis, a bacterial infection which can stay dormant for years.

It also can cause permanent lung damage, though in his autobiography Mandela says doctors caught it in time. However, tuberculosis can return to trouble those previously infected, properly treated or not, and previous damage could have been missed, Openshaw said. Openshaw, who has not seen Mandela’s medical records and spoke generally about treating patients, said pneumonia is the most likely respiratory illness to affect an elderly person, though others can strike as well.

Doctors typically use antibiotics to treat such infections, though there needed to be care made in deciding how much of a dose to give an older patient. And there’s the challenge of treating a patient that a nation and many around the world remain anxiously worried about. “It’s particularly difficult if it’s in a special patient, where you really have to be very careful to try not to overreact, but just to treat them as if they were any other patient,” Openshaw said. But the doctor later acknowledged the obvious: “It’s very hard to the balance right (for) a special, special patient.”

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

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 from the country’s politics over the last decade but continued campaigning against AIDS. He has grown increasing frail in recent years.

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55 Comments

  1. Mandela must live long. A nation with good medical facility.
    Alfa Belgore, I hope u are witnessing what South Africa is doing to their legendary right there at Pretoria. U re there exaggerating useless comment yesterday that if Nigeria breaks the entire black race will be doomed, as if Nigeria politicians made any meaningful mark to develop Nigeria since independence in 1960/1962 they earned republic. No good hospitals even to treat their fellow elite class, no education, no shelter, no good roads, only country in the world today that has no portable drinking water and electricity, useless Alfa Belgore that perverted so many judgments in Nigeria to favour his friends and well wishers. Belgore are among those that brought corruption in Nigeria judicial system, evil man.

    • Owerri or whatever you called urself, why not make your contribution and stop abusing people. why are u fanning tribal tension. When trouble come up because of your stupid statement, you will go into hidding.This is very bad!

  2. Mandela is a hero,icon and a role model.Mandela did not visit any foreign hospital.All the hospitalṣ mentioned above are in South African.This shows that there are adeqùate facilities and equipment in their hospitals unlike Nigeria where Local govt chairmen sneak to other countries for medical attention

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  4. ONE GIFT TO THE BLACK RACE IS MANDELA. HE IS A POLITICAL TEACHER TO GREEDY -TENURE CRAZY- POLITICIANS. HE IS ONE GOOD FIGHTER ON DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES… I WISH MY FATHERLAND, NIGERIA, WILL BOAST OF ONE MANDELA… OH LORD WHY HAVE YOU OVER-LOADED THIS LAND WITH HUNGRY POLITICIANS, GREEDY BASTARDS AND COVETEOUS HUMAN-BEINGS…

    I KNOW WE HAVE A MANDELA IN OUR MIDST BUT WILL THE POLITICAL DEMONS IN NIGERIA ALLOW THE SUN TO SHINE ON US?

    LONG LIVE MANDELA.
    LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

    LASTLY, DOOMSDAY AWAITS EVERY POLITICIAN WHO IS OF THE BELIEF THAT STEALING OF A NATION’S WEALTH IS THE REASON BEHIND EVERY POLITICAL APPOINTMENT.

  5. Austin Udowelle on

    Giant of Africa cannot treat her citizens locally. But south Africa does. What a pitiful giant ? A nation without shame. Axis of evil.

  6. Mandela is a gift to africa,i wish he is nigerian,a country were a common ward councellor be flown abroad for malaria treatment,GEJ try to do one single point Agenda like hospital,power,education.not every year 7 point agenda,while none is being done,now kidnapping is another treat to life in nigeria.God ve mercy

  7. Our Mandela’s ve all gone,what we are having thisdays is moneydela politician who mandel our God gven treasure wtout a second thougth like mandela who treasure his pple nd all she has.oh God save the soul of this hero 2 his 100 and above,if possible transfre his ill healt 2 all the wicked leaders of this conutry called 9jira count 4rm IBB,OBJ,BUHARI E.T.C

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  9. eNCA has apologisedto the family for airing that 2009 interview with Graca Machael in 2012, especially at this period when Madiba is hospitalised. And nowhere in the said interview she said she is losing hope, she only said Mandela’s sparkle is fading due to age. Tata Mandela is responding well to his treatment of the lung infection so lets keep hope alive

  10. SIR MANDELA GOD WILL HELP YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT GREED LIKE NIGERIA POLITICIANS. I PRAY THAT YOU WILL RECOVER FAST. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO YOU NOW GOOD MAN.

  11. Madiba long may u continue to reign in sickeness, health, age n otherwise. To Sammie Dee above, i say amen, i share in your prayer. yes indeed there is a Mandela in Naija but dis monster PDP must be crushed for any meaningful devpt to take place, Hmmmm i cry for my country.

  12. The great father/politician of our time, please don’t go yet. The African countries need you at this point in time when corruption is eaten hard on us.

  13. Its is a such a sorry situation that Mandela, an ousider could be this loved with all this well wishes and get well messages, while ours are hated, reading through the comment in most of the news paper about the kidnap of our Minister of finance without simpathy is a big shame to all our leaders and our president. I pray God help us as a nation bcus its obvious our leaders has failed us. Our only hope is God, let keeping praying to him, i beleive one day our 70years in d wilderness will come to an end. GOD BLESS NIGERIA.

  14. Mandela,s disease should be transfered to corrupt Nigeria politicians like Bola Tinubu, BABALAKIN,IBB, OBJ, FAROUK LAWAL, DIMEJI BAKOLE, CHRIS UBA, OHAKIM , ACHIKE UDENWA, BODE GORGE, TARFA BALOGUN, THEO ORJI, SAM EGWU, GOD pls remove Mandela,s ill health and transfer all his ailment to these corrupt politicians in Nigeria so that Madiba can live more than 100 yrs.

  15. our leaders are shameless, every day they keep hailing our past leaders like Obafemi Awolowo , Tafa Balewa and Nnamdi Azikwa. what could be said of the present generation of leaders like Obasanjo , Atiku, Babangida, Tinubu, Alao Akala, Iwu, Bankole, Elumelu, Chris Uba, Ohakim. they are bunch of criminals, thieves , OLE , BARAWO.

    • @Temi: You spoke well dear. The present leaders introduced evil seeds into the system and now the seeds are germinating.Nigeria had and still has enough money to transform the country but tribalism, nepotism, parochialism and every kind of evil enmeshed with it. The ex-generals should be tied up with their legs wide open and hot rods are forced into their rear ends for destroying this land of the rising sun.

  16. long live africa long live madiba 1 of south africa, 2 ma great hero mandela, wishin u quick recovery nd indeed a sound health. cus u r genius in our african politics nd d world @ large. A teacher nd a livin legend of our own tym, i join ma good fellows who knws wat politics is all abt nd whom u hav taught 2 wish u good health, quick recovery nd more yrz ahead nd MAY GOD IN HIS INFINITE MERCY ND GRANT OUR PRAYERS IN JESUS NAME AMEN . 2 9ja dirty politicians hw i wish u wil learn rm our great livin legend on hw 2 practicalize politics in it’s real term nd stop embezzlin public funds 4 ur selfish nd idiotic use.

  17. mandela, may God almighty in his infinit mercy grant you quick recovery, and give you good health to bounce back again i pray so in jesus name AmEN

  18. What is good is good. A good man is indeed a light to all. Madiba is it for SA, Africa and indeed the world. No wonder he is a hero to all. May God continue to bless him and grant him quick recovery and longer life for sake of all who rever him. Who is the present day Nigerian hero or heroine? Me think men like Chinue Achebe, Wole Soyinka and women like Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala give us hope.

  19. Alhaji Dan-azumi Gana on

    Graca Machel, don’t loose hope, God is in control. Mandela of Africa, you shall live longer than expected by the grace of God. Sound health shall be your portion. Long live Mandela, long live south Africa and long live AFRICA the giant continent.

  20. well done fellow nigerians? you have all written well, but lets tamper justice with mercy, u c this is not tym for criticism rather lets pray for mandela’s recovery and make mandela our role model, so that there will be a better nigeria when power is being vested on us the youth and the future generation. i hope v also written well. I rest my case

  21. Onyenji God'stime on

    Mandela,no dout is a gr8t son of africa,but he owes his gr8tnes 2 som1 gr8test,now is d time 4 him 2 make peace wit his creator. Heaven nd hell is real!

  22. long live madiba !!! I hope sm of those SA’s and PA’s are reading dis they say, d voice of d ppl is d voice of GOD. GOD fix dis country.

  23. NIGERIA RULERS …SORRY FOR YOU AND YOUR GENERATIONS TO COME BECAUSE YOU ALL THOUGHT THAT MONEY CAN LEAD YOU TO HEAVEN NOOOO…GOD DOES NOT NEED MONEY,HOUSE,CARS.ETC….WHAT GOD NEEDS IS GOOD NAME LIKE MANDELA HAS SHOWN IT AND EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT AND THE WORD OF GOD MADE ME TO KNOW THAT WHATSOEVER WE CONDEMN HERE ON EARTH IS ALSO CONDEMN IN HEAVEN AND WHATEVER WE PRAISE HERE ON EARTH WILL BE PRAISED IN HEAVEN SO FROM THE BEGINNING OF OUR INDEPENDENCE TILL NOW OUR LEADERS ARE ALL EVIL DOERS PERIOD!!!!

  24. gtr nationalist like Madiba. pity our thief leaders will turn their blind eyes to this. in critical health condition he still believes in his country. i’m already feeling emotional about this. Oh! God, use d military hospital to revive ds grt leader bcs his healing is Africa’s healing.

  25. ofodile chinweike vincent on

    I pray that God will give Madiba quick recovery. He is the only true hero in africa and the world, he is the light of the africans and the only true african politician. I love you Mandela and God will keep you for me.

  26. Quick recovery I wish u Mandela.Truly NIG is nt dat gud bt do nt be among d all time criticizers,be among d rebranders.We cannot change our already bad situation by so much blames.Let us try 2 work nt only talk.God bless NIG and its inhabitants.

  27. Dear Heaveny Father,
    We wish and pray that you allow the only african leader who knows and understands forgiveness to relive his lost years in prison.
    However let your will be done
    F.O.C.

  28. Look at how Nigerians were praying and comment good about Mandela because is good to be good. But if is the likes of GEJ, OBJ, BABAGIDA, ANIENIH, ATIKU, TINUBU, T.A ORJI, ELECHI, IBORI, NNAMANI, OHAKIM, OJO MADUEKWE, MRS MADUEKE, GBENGA DANIELS, YERIMA, UMARUDIKKO, PETER ODILI, CAPITAL OIL to mention but few, we will all be happy and wishing them dead. You people should repent and remember your creator whom you will give account of your life and is only our good works that we will be remembered of. Papa Mandela i wish you speedy recovery

  29. Etukakpan, Ekom on

    Our political leaders must learn the virtues and values of the great African son- Nelson Mandela.
    I pray that God should heal him of the lung infection.
    He is a person that I adore so much for letting South Africans to know that they have to bury their differences and live at peace with each other at all times.

  30. Nigerians leadership and the entire citizenry should learn that a good name cannot be compared to gold. Over here in China, most “Nigerians” deny our dear country out of shame. You lose friends, job opportunities and get discrimination just for being a Nigerian and accepting it. We must not blame the leaders, individually we have to do something positive. “Charity begins at home”.

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