Mandela: all’s well, says family
Nelson Mandela’s family says the elder statesman is “doing well”, but expressed sadness that the 94-year-old will miss his grandson’s traditional initiation ceremony.
Mandela’s grandson, Bambatha, who is his daughter Zindzi’s child, will be honoured by his family during the ceremony today.
The Presidency yesterday issued a statement revealing more details about Mandela’s medical condition. In the statement, Presidency spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said: “The former
president was hospitalised on 8 December . . . for a series of tests to be carried out by doctors.
“The tests revealed that there was a recurrence of (a) lung infection and that Madiba had developed gall stones.
“The medical team decided to attend to the lung infection before determining when to attend to the gall stones.”
Mandela underwent a procedure yesterday morning “via endoscopy to have the gall stones removed . . . The procedure was successful and Madiba is recovering”.
Nkosi Mandla Mandela, Madiba’s eldest grandchild and heir, told City Press yesterday it was unfortunate for the family that Mandela had to miss the traditional ceremony, called umgidi.
Mandla said they hoped the former president would be discharged soon.
“Even though he is not obliged to attend the ceremony, we would have loved to have had him here.
“It’s difficult for us that he cannot be here but we understand the issue with his health which has to do largely with his age,” he said.
Mandla, who is also the chief of Mvezo, said the traditional initiation ceremony, which was supposed to happen in Qunu yesterday, had to be postponed because of a funeral that took place close by in the village.
Another of Madiba’s grandsons, Zondwa, said members of the family were expected to attend the traditional ceremony.
Zondwa said Bambatha entered the initiation school on November 16 and that this “entire weekend” was dedicated to celebrating his return home.
Asked about Madiba’s health, Zondwa said his grandfather was “doing well”.
He said the family was very proud of Bambatha and that his grandfather (Madiba) was too.
“The family is very proud. And Bambatha’s grandfather would have been happy to be in attendance,” Zondwa said.
Meanwhile, the knives are out between the Presidency – which has been handling all official communication about Mandela’s health – and the media.
The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) yesterday issued a statement in which it accused government of seeking to “deceive the public about the conduct of the media” in covering Mandela’s hospitalisation.
Sanef said: “Senior government representatives have sought to justify misleading statements about the circumstances surrounding Mr Mandela’s whereabouts on the basis of irresponsible conduct by print and broadcast news organisations. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
There was confusion and suspicion this week after it emerged that Mandela was not being treated at Pretoria’s 1 Military Hospital, as stated by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Monday, after she had “visited” Madiba.
Mandela is believed to be recuperating at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.