News / Africa

    South Africa: Mandela Not in Vegetative State

    Wellwishers post messages outside the hospital where ailing former President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013.
    Wellwishers post messages outside the hospital where ailing former President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013.
    VOA News
    The South African government has denied a report that former president Nelson Mandela is in a vegetative state.
     
    The report Thursday from the French news agency was based on court documents filed last month.
     
    A statement from the presidency cites doctors as denying the report, and reiterates an earlier statement that Mandela remains in critical but stable condition.
     
    The anti-apartheid icon, who is 94, has spent nearly a month in Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital.
     
    A close friend and fellow anti-apartheid activist, Denis Goldberg, told reporters Friday that when he visited Mandela earlier in the week, the former president was conscious. Goldberg said that Mandela was responsive to what he was saying.
     
    The court documents stemmed from a legal dispute within the Mandela family over where three of Mandela's deceased children should be buried.
     
    The three bodies were moved back to their original burial site in Mandela's hometown of Qunu on Thursday, after a court order.
     
    In Pretoria Friday, well-wishers chanted songs and released balloons outside the hospital to show support for the ailing former president.
     
    Mandela is revered in South Africa and beyond for his role in ending official racial discrimination and white minority rule. After spending 27 years in prison, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was elected South Africa's first black president the following year.
     
    • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, holds a candle during a prayer service for the ailing Mandela at a church in Johannesburg, July 5, 2013. 
    • Ndaba Mandela (R), one of former South African President Nelson Mandela's grandsons, and an unidentified companion leave the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where the former president is being treated, in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • Well-wishers pray in support of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela in front of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013.
    • Daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, leaves after visiting the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • Well-wishers post messages outside the hospital where ailing former President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 5, 2013. 
    • A well-wisher weeps as he pays his respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
    • Boys hold a candle as they pay their respects outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, where ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, July 1, 2013.
    • Men stand next to a banner covered with portraits of Nelson Mandela to a wall outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 28, 2013.
    • A well-wisher pays respect to ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
    • Granddaughters Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Tukwini Mandela are surrounded by the media outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.
    • Children release 95 white balloons to mark the upcoming birthday of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, June 27, 2013.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: RonMGA from: Chicago
    July 06, 2013 1:38 AM
    Stop calling Mr. Mandela a melanzane, let him live his last moments with dignity.

    by: Skye Moody from: US
    July 05, 2013 11:12 AM
    Nelson Mandela is not only a hero in his home country of South Africa; Mr. Mandela changed the course of world wide conflict when he created South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation committee, a place where former enemies gathered to confess and apologize for the brutalities they committed against one another during political conflict. The world now understands a new way toward achieving peace. Skye Moody, Author

    by: jeff from: florida
    July 05, 2013 10:30 AM
    he's 94 and lived a long life, please let this man die with dignity and stop reporting his condition every 10 minutes.

    by: Rob from: Portland
    July 05, 2013 10:17 AM
    A human person is not a "vegetable". Awake or not, this "description" should not be used of a person.

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