Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Mandela hopefully heading home soon: grandson

AP, JOHANNESBURG

A grandson of Nelson Mandela says hopefully he will be headed home soon, as the 94-year-old beloved former South African president marked two weeks in the hospital on Friday.

Ndaba Mandela addressed concerns about his grandfather’s health at a media briefing on Thursday about a soccer invitational that will be part of celebrations surrounding Mandela’s 95th birthday on July 18.

“Positively we can say that he has been getting better and better each day and hopefully he’ll be coming home soon,” Ndaba Mandela was quoted as saying by the Star, a South African newspaper.

“For us, as family, as long as he can still hear and understand what is said to him, and talk to us, we’ll continue to celebrate him,” he said.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for human rights activism, was taken to a Pretoria hospital on June 8 to be treated for a recurring lung infection. It marked the fourth time he has been hospitalized since December last year.

Meanwhile, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela as president in 1999, said he has remained in close contact with doctors about Mandela’s condition.

“Nelson Mandela is in fact improving, in terms of his health,” Mbeki said on Thursday night in an interview with Power FM, a radio station. “I think we really need to feel comforted that we still have him with us now.”

The government had described Mandela’s condition as serious but stable, but later said he was improving.

Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and became South Africa’s first black president in all-race elections in 1994.

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