Mandela makes 'dramatic' progress, says daughter

2013-07-17 18:05
(Photo: file,AP)

(Photo: file,AP)

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Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela, who has been in hospital for almost six weeks, has made "dramatic progress", and may be going home "anytime soon", his daughter Zindzi has said on the eve of his 95th birthday.

Mandela turns 95 on Thursday.

"I visited him yesterday [Tuesday] and he was watching television with headphones," said Zindzi Mandela in an interview with Britain's Sky TV. "He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand... He responds with his eyes and his hands."

She added that Madiba was gaining "energy and strength".

"I should think he will be going home anytime soon."

Mandela was admitted to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on 8 June with a recurring lung infection.

Zindzi's update on her famous father's health comes about two weeks after court documents claimed he was in a "vegetative" state and that doctors had suggested to the family to turn off his life support.

To date, the official word from government is that his condition is critical, but stable.

Nelson Mandela International Day

The UN declared the 18th Nelson Mandela International Day to recognise the Nobel Prize winner's contribution to reconciliation.

President Jacob Zuma will mark the birthday by overseeing the donation of houses to poor white families in the Pretoria area, in line with his Cabinet's theme to commemorate Mandela's birthday this year by focusing on food security, shelter and literacy.

In Cape Town, labour activists are holding an event at St George's Cathedral on Thursday, in remembrance of Mandela's years of service and to encourage people to donate food to charity while leaving messages of support for the former leader's family.

The anti-apartheid leader has also inspired artists and graphic designers who celebrate his life through paintings and posters.

A group of young South African designers created a poster project to offer a global perspective of Mandela with submissions from around the world.

The group whittled down 700 posters submitted by designers from more than 70 countries, to 95 for each day of Mandela's life.

"He carries across this concept of humanity and selflessness," said Mohammed Jogie, co-founder of the project.

South African artists John Adams and Paul Blomkamp have painted two of the largest Mandela paintings.

Blomkamp said his painting was inspired by Mandela's energy, which he described as exceptional.

Blomkamp said an image of his painting will be featured in a display in New York's Times Square on Thursday in honour of Mandela's birthday.
Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  winnie madikizela-mandela  |  zindzi mandela  |  jacob zuma

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