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Nelson Mandela Health Status 2012: Battles Lung Infection; I’m Losing Hope Says Wife

nelson mandela health status 2012

Dec 12, 2012 – Nelson Mandela Health Status 2012: Battles Lung Infection; I’m Losing Hope Says Wife

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.

(Photo Credit: AP) Source 



  1. Gift Irabor Osho

    December 12, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    can't help but just look @ dis great man with an intense feeling of admiration for a real man dat lived for d freedom of his people having d love of his nation as priority…thanking God for his life meaningfully spent worthy of emulation by all… only wish our leaders w'ld ''take a leaf'' from dis living LEGEND of all times! SIR MANDELA! MY RESPECT EVER FOR YOU SIR! wishing u sound recovery soonest!

  2. Oguh Elizabeth Chisara

    December 12, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    My Hero,I’m wishing u quick recovery.

  3. Daniel EE Richard

    December 12, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    All beast die, all men die, all that live on the earth will die. But HEROS never die in our mind they live forever. Sir mandela is an hero [I wish quick recovery] in Jesus Name

  4. Florence Lukwanda

    December 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    May God touch our old man..

  5. Zitha Chilasa

    December 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Get well soon Madiba, you are indeed one of the few special people in the world. A LEGEND!

  6. Fina Adams

    December 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I wish u quick recovery my role model of all time.

  7. Taniform Funue

    December 12, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    He has done a lot of good things to humanity he is a hero indeed, he may be at the point of dying now, but I'm afraid he may not yet b born again, the book of John says every man be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God. if he has not accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, he should do that at once!

  8. zoee

    December 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    if he dies, he dies a great man…i wish him quick recovery though..i admire him so much

  9. Paul fajinmi

    December 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    What a great man.Unlike Nigeria politicians.A Nigerian will not fight for his people but himself .We all should learn from Mandella what leadership is all about.God bless you Madiba the great.

  10. benco

    December 21, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    @ Funue, wise taught dear. The holy book says in the book of John 16 v 33 these things i said unto you that in me you have peace and in the world you have tribulation and to what shall it profit a man to have the whole world and looses his soul? bewise.

  11. Alysia Johnson

    June 27, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    We are wishing you a speedy recovery from every who works in healthcare facility in Denver,Co. We the Johnson family are going to keep you and your family in our prayers. Love you and thank you for standing for all Americans love ya and get better we need you a little longer. May God continue to bless you. You are a marvelous human being kindness runs all through your veins.

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