JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela is not "doing well" but is continuing to put up a courageous fight from his "deathbed," members of his family have told the South African Broadcasting Corporation in an interview.
His daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, told SABC television news: "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.
"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, told the SABC interviewer.
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."
He has been plagued several times with lung problems over the past three years and was hospitalized 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 hospitalized in Pretoria. On 8 June 2013, his lung infection worsened, and he was re-hospitalized in Pretoria in a serious condition.