The Korea Herald


South Africa’s Mandela unable to speak: ex-wife

By Korea Herald

Published : Nov. 18, 2013 - 19:18

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Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela
CAPE TOWN (AFP) ― South Africa’s Nelson Mandela remains “quite ill” and is unable to speak, using facial expressions to communicate as he receives intensive medical care at home, his former wife told a Sunday newspaper.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said the 95-year-old former president was not on life support, but he was no longer talking “because of all the tubes that are in his mouth to clear (fluid from) the lungs” and prevent infection returning.

“He can’t actually articulate anything” as a result, she told The Sunday Independent.

“He communicates with the face, you see. But the doctors have told us they hope to recover his voice.”

Mandela was discharged in a critical condition on Sept. 1 to his home in Johannesburg’s upmarket Houghton suburb after nearly three months in hospital for a lung infection.

“I have heard this nonsense that he is on life support. He is not,” Madikizela-Mandela said.

The country’s anti-apartheid hero is under the care of 22 doctors, and while his pneumonia has cleared, his lungs remain sensitive, she said, adding that it was “difficult for him.”

“He remains very sensitive to any germs, so he has to be kept literally sterile. The bedroom there (in Houghton) is like an ICU ward,” she explained.

“He remains quite ill, but thank God the doctors were able to pull him through from that (last) infection,” she said.