Nelson Mandela has made “dramatic” progress, his daughter said as the former president of South Africa celebrates his 95th birthday today.
Zindzi Mandela said in an interview with Sky TV that her father could be going home soon.
She said her father is watching television with headphones in his bed in a Pretoria hospital and that he smiles at family members and raises his hand.
The latest description by Zindzi Mandela — a daughter by his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela — is a significant improvement from court documents from the family that said he was on life support and near death.
“I visited him yesterday. He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand. He responds with his eyes and his hands.”
Mandela is gaining “energy and strength”, said his daughter. “I should think he will be going home any time soon.”
Mandela has been in a Pretoria hospital since June 8 and officials say his condition is critical but stable.
Former president Thabo Mbeki said at the weekend he expected Mandela to soon be discharged from the hospital to recuperate at home.
Mandela has been in hospital for more than five weeks for a recurring lung infection, sparking an outpouring of support in South Africa and internationally.
The anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
The news of the improvement in Mandela’s health will boost his supporters in South Africa and around the world who will celebrate his 95th birthday, a day declared by the UN as a way to recognise the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to reconciliation.
Interest in Nelson Mandela International Day has ignited as a result of the former South African president’s stay in hospital in Pretoria, and people are finding ways to honour his ideals.
A Johannesburg-based foundation named after Mandela and other groups have asked people to volunteer 67 minutes to charity to match what they say are the 67 years that Mandela served his community.
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