'Nothing wrong' with Nelson Mandela

Rumours on Thursday that former South African president Nelson Mandela was gravely ill were laughed off by his grandson, who said he had breakfast with the beloved icon that morning.

Rumours have been circulating in media and political circles this week that Mandela was ill and possibly in hospital.

‘I’ve been with my grandfather this morning,” Mandla Zwelivelile Mandela, told the Mail and Guardian Online on Thursday. ‘There is nothing wrong with him.”

“The old man is elderly now and has routine check-ups—and people get excited about it.”

It was understood that the family would release a statement soon that Mandela would withdraw entirely from public life.

But Mandla said his grandfather had effectively done so.

Mandela officially retired from public activity in 2004, at the age of 85, but has still maintained a high profile publicly thanks to massive public interest.

On his birthday in July this year Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Achmat Dangor said Mandela was healthy and even more vigorous at 91.

Tokyo Sexwale joked that even at 91 when Madiba struggles to walk, he refuses to use a wheelchair.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was not immediately available for comment on Thursday afternoon.

Verashni Pillay

Verashni Pillay

Verashni Pillay is the editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian. She grew up in Laudium, Pretoria, learned her trade at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, spent a spell in Cape Town as an online journalist, and now loves living in Jozi. Her interests are broad but include a focus on politics and multi-platform story-telling. Read more from Verashni Pillay


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