Ailing Nelson Mandela 'putting up a fight'

Last updated 11:40 05/12/2013

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Ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is not "doing well" but is continuing to put up a courageous fight from his "deathbed," his family says.

"Tata is still with us, strong, courageous. Even, for a lack of a better word ... on his 'deathbed' he is teaching us lessons; lessons in patience, in love, lessons of tolerance, his daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, told SABC television news.

"Every moment I get with him I'm amazed. There are times where I have to pinch myself that I come from this man who is a fighter even though you can see he is struggling, but fighting spirit is still there with him."

Mandela spent almost three months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted in June with a recurring lung infection.

The 95-year-old liberation struggle icon was discharged in September and has been receiving home-based medical attention since then.

Since June the Presidency has consistently described his condition as "critical but stable".

"He is still with us although he is not doing well in bed," his grandson, Ndaba Mandela, said.

Last month, Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was quoted as saying he was no longer talking "because of all the tubes that are in his mouth to clear (fluid from) the lungs."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was under the care of 22 doctors.

While his pneumonia has cleared, his lungs remain sensitive, Madikizela-Mandela said, adding that it was "difficult for him".

"He remains very sensitive to any germs, so he has to be kept literally sterile," she said.

Mandela has been plagued several times with lung problems over the past three years and was hospitalised at least four times for the condition.

In February 2011, he was briefly hospitalized with a respiratory, infection before being re-hospitalized for a lung infection and gallstone removal in December 2012.

After a successful medical procedure in early March 2013, his lung infection recurred, and he was briefly hospitalised in Pretoria. On June 8, 2013, his lung infection worsened, and he was re-hospitalised in Pretoria in a serious condition.

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- AP

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