Graça Machel keeping bedside vigil

2013-07-07 10:10
Graça Machel speaks at a media briefing at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, giving an update on her husband's health. (Alexander Joe, AFP)

Graça Machel speaks at a media briefing at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, giving an update on her husband's health. (Alexander Joe, AFP)

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Graca Machel thanks nation

2013-07-05 07:52

Graca Machel was speaking at the Nelson Mandela Foundation where ministers and members of the sporting fraternity delivered a pledge and messages of support for Mandela. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - Graça Machel, the wife of former president Nelson Mandela, has provided emotional stability during her husband's lengthy hospital stay, the City Press reported on Sunday.

"Madiba always wants reassurance that she is close by. She provides emotional stability not only to him but also to many of us," Mandela's personal assistant Zelda la Grange told the newspaper.

The City Press reported that since his admittance to Pretoria's Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, Machel has not left Mandela's side for more than three hours before returning to him.

She apparently sleeps in a chair next to his bed and has clothes and other items brought in for her each week.

Sunday marks the 30th day Mandela has been in hospital receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection.

The Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory's Verne Harris told the newspaper that Machel had requested that some of the tributes left for Mandela at the hospital be collected and brought back to the centre.

"Those that had addresses on she asked us to please respond to, sending thanks. She was worried they would become weathered."

The 15th wedding anniversary of Machel and Mandela is celebrated this month.

Lone beacon of dignity

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that Machel is seen as a lone beacon of dignity as the Mandela family continue to battle it out in court and in the media for the right to control the ailing statesman’s name, legacy and final resting place.

Even Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has commented, saying Machel was “a strong woman of enormous stature. But graciousness is the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of her: gracious wife, gracious feminist, gracious human being. Gracious, but not to be trifled with or under-estimated”.

She did not even leave Mandela's bedside to meet US President Barack Obama last week.

But as the Mandela family row continued to rage, Machel made a rare public appearance and took to the podium briefly at the launch of a sporting event for the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory. It was here that she tried to put the public’s fears to rest and assured people that “although Madiba sometimes may be uncomfortable, very few times he is in pain, but he is fine.”

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  graca machel  |  mandela graves saga

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