Nelson Mandela. File photo: Reuters

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj was asked yesterday what best to tell a 10-year-old who asked why she is not able to visit Madiba on his sick bed.

“With children we have to remind them that Madiba is frail and he is 94 years old.

“(Tell them) he has to be given time and space to recuperate, then buy them a chocolate or an ice-cream, let them paint a picture of Madiba or something and help them understand,” said Maharaj.

He added: “We can only assume that in the absence of news from his doctors that he is progressing in his healing. He continues to be under high care at home and we try to avoid having too many people disturb him. Graça is by his side with him all the time, but other family members come and go.”

Maharaj said he last saw Mandela on Wednesday last week in Mandela’s Houghton home and said he managed to joke with the former president.

“I told him not to trouble the doctors,” said Maharaj.

He added that Madiba does receive his messages of well wishes and love from the millions of people who hold him in their thoughts, including children from around the world.

The world’s press continue to camp outside Mandela’s home, waiting for updates about his health. – Ufrieda Ho, Saturday Star