South Africa’s ailing first black president Nelson Mandela is still teaching life lessons and remains a fighter even as he approaches death, his daughter said on Tuesday.
“Tata (father) is still with us, very strong... very courageous, even, (for) lack of a better word, on his death bed. I think he’s still teaching us lessons,” Mandela’s oldest surviving child, Makaziwe Mandela, told public broadcaster SABC. “Lessons in patience, lessons in love, lessons in tolerance.”
Mr Mandela, 95, is currently under medical care at his Johannesburg home after spending nearly three months in hospital with a lung infection earlier this year.
“Every moment, every minute with Tata amazes me and there are times when I have to pinch myself that I come from this man who is so strong, who is a fighter,” said his daughter, speaking at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Opus, a massive book about his life and journey from anti-apartheid fighter to icon of reconciliation.
“Even when there are moments when you can see he’s struggling, but the fighting spirit is still there with him.”
On November, President Jacob Zuma described Mandela’s condition as “stable but critical” after paying him a visit.
“He’s still with us. Even when there are moments when you can see he’s struggling but the fighting spirit is still there with him,” his grandson Ndaba Mandela said onTuesday.
Meanwhile, a film based on the life of Nelson Mandela, “Long Walk to Freedom”, has became South Africa’s all-time highest grossing picture after its opening last week, production company Videovision Entertainment said on Tuesday.
The British-South African co-production, starring British actor Idris Elba as Mandela, has earned 4.4 million rand (KSh36.7m) — shattering records previously held by blockbusters like “The Wolverine”, “Hangover 3” and some locally produced films.
South African producer Anant Singh said he was “extremely pleased with the audience reaction” and the emotional response to the two-and-a half-hour movie.
Largely based on Mandela’s autobiography of the same title, “Long Walk to Freedom” traces the life of the revered leader from his childhood in the rural Eastern Cape, through his anti-apartheid activism and decades of incarceration, to his election as the country’s first black president in 1994.
The film opened in the United States on November 29, earning an average of $25,076 per screen, according to producers. It is seen as an Oscar contender, with Elba’s performance in particular worthy of a best acting nomination.
On Tuesday, Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, said the revered statesman was still strong, despite his ill health.
“That spirit is still very, very strong, even if he is sick on his bed,” she said at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Opus in Johannesburg.
Mandela, 95, is currently under medical care at his Johannesburg home after spending nearly three months in hospital with a lung infection earlier this year.