Nelson Mandela on dialysis, but responsive

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been getting kidney dialysis and opens his eyes when people talk to him, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said Friday.

Mandela, who is on life support, is not in a vegetative state, the source said.

The anti-apartheid icon has been hospitalized for nearly a month for a recurring lung infection.

Considered the founding father of South Africa’s democracy, Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, the country’s system of racial segregation. He emerged from prison in 1990 to became the nation’s first black president four years later.

His lung problems started during his years in prison under South Africa’s now-defunct apartheid regime

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