Grace: Mandela's sparkle fading

Ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has been gradually losing his legendary "sparkle'' as he ages, his wife said in an interview three years ago, but rebroadcast on Tuesday as he spent a fourth day in hospital with a lung infection.

"I mean, this spirit and this sparkle, you see that somehow it's fading,'' Graca Machel said in the 2009 interview which eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) initially said was filmed on Monday.

Mandela, 94, was at the weekend admitted to hospital for tests. Authorities on Tuesday said they showed he had a lung infection and was responding to treatment.

"To see him ageing, it's something also which pains you. You understand and you know it has to happen,'' said Graca in the 2009 interview originally broadcast by CNN.

The channel also ran an old interview with Mandela's grand-daughter Ndileka saying the nonagenarian had accepted his condition.

"I think he takes it in his strides, he has come to accept that it's part of growing old, and it's part of humanity as such. At some point you will be dependent on someone else, he has come to embrace it,'' she said.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula visited Mandela on Monday and said the revered statesman was "doing very, very well''.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency