Nelson Mandela unable to speak

Last updated 14:41 18/11/2013
nelson mandela
MIKE HUTCHINGS/ Reuters
INSPIRATION: Former South African president Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to many.

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Nelson Mandela's ex-wife says South Africa's former president remains "quite ill" and unable to speak because of tubes that are keeping his lungs clear of fluid, though he is relaxed.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told South Africa's Sunday Independent newspaper that Mandela's room at his suburban home "is like an ICU ward," because the 95-year-old anti-apartheid leader "remains very sensitive to any germs."

She said that he cannot speak because of the tubes in his mouth meant to clear the fluid from his lungs to prevent infection.

Madikizela-Mandela denied he is on life support and said 22 doctors are treating him.

Mandela has been in intensive medical care at his Johannesburg home since being discharged September 1 after nearly three months in a hospital for a recurring lung infection.

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- AP

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