Yesterday, in an interview with CNN’s Robyn Curnow, a teary Makaziwe said: “When he breathed that last breath it was a relief to me . I couldn’t take it anymore. There were times I was telling the doctors I think enough is enough. As doctors they had their duty to try everything up to the last moment, but for me as a daughter it was excruciating watching that.”
Makaziwe’s interview comes two weeks after the former president’s widow, Graça Machel, spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour for the first time after six months of mourning.
Mandela died on December 5, but the year before his death was the hardest, said Makaziwe, who is also readying a memoir, After the Great Tree had Fallen.
Mandela spent 87 days in a Pretoria hospital and, by the time of his death, it was his fourth time in six months he was being admitted to hospital – prompting vigils around the country and even outside the hospital.
Makaziwe said it was at this time that she began asking: “Guys, when do we accept that we have reached the end and we can’t play God?”
When Curnow asked her whether Madiba should have been allowed to go sooner, she said: “He was in a wheelchair, already incontinent. For me the quality of life was not there, now he was bedridden. I did not understand why we had to prolong life.”
Earlier this week, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote in an op-ed piece in the UK’s Guardian that he was in favour of assisted dying, saying Madiba’s prolonged death “was an affront” to his dignity.
He said: “What was done to Madiba was disgraceful.”
Makaziwe also took Curnow around Madiba’s Qunu home and discussed plans for a visitor centre and a memorial garden where tourists would be able to walk around the area of Mandela’s grave.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview on the Midday Report on Talk Radio 702 yesterday, another of Mandela’s daughters, Zindzi, described how the immediate family would be marking Mandela Day today.
She said their plans included spending time at an old age home at Emdeni, Soweto, and with feeding schemes in Orlando West.