Mandela’s family holding on to hope

PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) — Though anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is critically ill, he is opening his eyes and responding to touch, his oldest daughter said Thursday.

Mandela, 94, considered the founding father of South Africa’s modern democracy, has been undergoing treatment at a Pretoria hospital since June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

Nelson“I reiterate that Tata is very critical, that anything is imminent,”Makaziwe Mandela told state-run South African Broadcasting Corp. “But I want to emphasize again that it’s only God who knows when the time to go is, and so we will wait.”

Tata is the the Xhosa word for father.

“He’s … still reactive to touch. We will live with that hope until the final end comes,” she said.

An official briefed on Mandela’s condition said he was on life support late Wednesday. Government spokesman Mac Maharaj declined to comment on the report, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

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