Nelson Mandela responds to treatment but 'sparkle fades'

Nelson Mandela at World Cup closing ceremony

South African government former president is suffering from recurrent lung infection

LAST UPDATED AT 15:33 ON Tue 11 Dec 2012

NELSON MANDELA is being treated for a recurrent lung infection in hospital and his wife has warned that the former president of South Africa is losing his "spirit and sparkle".
 
The 94-year-old was airlifted to military hospital in Pretoria at the weekend amid fears that his health had taken a turn for the worse. However, he is now said to be responding to treatment, although there is no news on when he could be discharged.
 
The positive news about his condition came today, 24 hours after his Mozambican wife Graca Machel told the ENews Central Africa television channel that she had noticed her husband's health deteriorating.
 
"This spirit and this sparkle, you see that somehow it's fading," she said, according to The Times. "To see him ageing, it's something also which pains you... You understand and you know it has to happen."
 
Mandela's grand-daughter, Ndileka Mandela, told the same station that the Nobel peace laureate had come to terms with his health problems. "He has come to accept that it's part of growing old, and it's part of humanity as such," she explained. "At some point you will be dependent on someone else, he has come to embrace it."
 
Earlier today the South African government took the unusual step of releasing details of Mandela's condition. "Doctors have concluded the tests, and these have revealed a recurrence of a previous lung infection, for which Madiba is receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment.”
 
The news will not placate those concerned for his health. "News that the frail Mr Mandela has another lung infection is likely to generate considerable anxiety," said the BBC. It added that Mandela was diagnosed with TB in the 1980s and was admitted to hospital with a respiratory problem in 2011. Earlier this year he suffered an abdominal complaint.
 
South African newspaper the Mail & Guardian reported that security was tight at 1 Military Hospital, on the outskirts of Pretoria, after Mandela's third night there. · 

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