Nelson Mandela’s family is reportedly in conflict as reports of his health continue to conflict.
The former South African President was said to be in a “permanent vegetative state” after being in critical condition at Pretoria hospital since the beginning of June because of a reported lung infection.
“The doctors deny that the former President is in a vegetative state,” a statement posted Thursday (July 4) on the goverment’s official site read. A close friend added that Mandela was conscious and responsive earlier this week. However, court documents state the 94-year-old icon is still on life support.
Meanwhile, the Mandela family is sparring over where the activist rights hero will be buried in the event of his death. The court ordered the bodies of Mandela’s three deceased children to be moved back to a hillside site in the town of Qunu, where he is expected to be laid to rest. The dispute has left most of the Mandela relatives at odds with his grandson Mandla, who transferred the remains from Qunhu to nearby Mvezo, where he opened a visitor center.
The feud has moved archbishop Desmond Tutu to ask the family to settle their differences. “Please, please, please may we think not only of ourselves. It’s almost like spitting in Madiba’s (Mandela’s) face,” Tutu said in a statement released by his foundation. “Your anguish, now, is the nation’s anguish — and the world’s. We want to embrace you, to support you, to shine our love for Madiba through you. Please may we not besmirch his name.”
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