Nelson Mandela is “quite ill” and is unable to speak—but is not on life support, his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told a local newspaper on Sunday. He cannot speak because of “all the tubes that are in this mouth to clear [fluid from] the lungs,” Madikizela-Mandela told South Africa’s Sunday Independent. “He can’t actually articulate anything …. He communicates with the face, you see. But the doctors have told us they hope to recover his voice.” Mandela was released in September from the hospital, where he was held for three months for a lung infection. South Africa’s government has said his condition is critical and sometimes unstable.
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