Mandela is sitting up and talking – grandson
Nelson Mandela's eldest grandson has confirmed that the former South African president is sitting up in bed and talking after being taken to hospital as a result of a recurring lung infection.
Mandla Mandela, who is an ANC MP, said that his grandfather was "well", but said there were no immediate plans for him to return home.
"We are letting the doctors do what best they can. He is still undergoing medical check-ups," he said.
He added he was confident that the 94-year-old, who has been treated in hospital three times in the past four months for respiratory problems, would be back with his family before long.
'Madiba', as he is known, was taken to hospital at around midnight on Wednesday, but his 32-year-old grandson stressed that the family were under no illusions about his state of health, given his age.
"We have been blessed as a family to have my grandfather all these years with us, we have cherished every moment and continue to do so," he said.
"My grandfather has never belonged to us, he belongs to the country and the global community. His service has been inspirational, not just to us as a family but to millions around the world, and he continues to be an inspiration to us all."
Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black, democratically elected president in 1994 after he was released from 27 years' imprisonment under the apartheid regime.
Amid racial and inter-party tensions that threatened to plunge the country into civil war in the 1990s, he held South Africans together in a peace that largely holds to this day.
Mandla Mandela, who has taken up the traditional chieftaincy in his grandfather's Xhosa homeland in the village of Qunu, added that prayers were being said there for his swift recovery.
Prayers were also being said in Soweto, where Mr Mandela lived during his days as an anti-apartheid activist.
Mandla Mandela was yesterday preparing to drive the 800km from Qunu to Pretoria to visit his grandfather, who is thought to be at a military hospital.
Among visitors to his bedside were his wife Graca, his former wife Winnie, his oldest daughter Maki, and grandsons Kweku and Ndaba. (© Daily Telegraph, London)