Mandela ‘suffers memory loss’


JOHANESBURG — Former South African President Nelson Mandela is doing well after spending a night in hospital over the weekend, a friend has revealed.

Eyewitness News

But human rights lawyer George Bizos, who defended Mandela during his 1960s treason trial, said that while the 94-year-old is aware of current political events, he sometimes forgets his fellow anti-apartheid activists are dead.

In an interview Bizos told Eyewitness News: “Unfortunately he sometimes forgets that one or two of them passed on and has a blank face when you tell him that Walter Sisulu and some others are no longer with us.”

Sisulu, the former leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), who was Mandela’s political mentor, died nearly a decade ago. Bizos, who has been friends with Mandela since the 1940s, paid a visit to the Nobel Peace Prize winner at his Johannesburg home just over a week ago.

He said: “I saw him about 10 days ago. He looked OK.”

Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday for “a scheduled medical check-up to manage the existing conditions in line with his age”, the South African presidency said.

It came less than three months after he was treated for a lung infection and gallstones. Bizos represented Mandela and other leading anti-apartheid activists, including Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, during the infamous 1960s Rivonia Trial that saw Mandela sentenced to life in prison.