Mandela Is ‘Looking Well,’ S. African Politician Says
White liberal politician Helen Suzman met Nelson Mandela in a clinic Friday and said that the imprisoned black nationalist leader is looking fine.
“He’s thin but looking well. He says he’s feeling fine and very happy with the treatment he has been given,” Suzman told reporters after chatting with the 70-year-old Mandela for almost an hour in Cape Town’s Constantiaberg clinic. It was their first meeting since May, 1986.
Suzman had brought him chocolate candy and books. She left the clinic for half an hour, returning with Mandela’s favorite preserved fruit.
Mandela, serving a life sentence for plotting to overthrow white rule, was brought to the exclusive private clinic this week to convalesce after hospital treatment for tuberculosis.
Suzman, 70, a member of the Progressive Federal Party, has vigorously opposed apartheid since she first entered parliament in 1953.
Asked about speculation that the move to the clinic could be the first stage in Mandela’s release, Suzman said, “I’m always hopeful but that doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily going to happen. . . . I really have no idea.”
Asked how she obtained permission for the visit, Suzman said, “By nagging the (justice) minister until he couldn’t stand the sight of me any longer.”