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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 15:13 GMT
Mandela's eldest son dies of Aids
Makgatho Mandela (file photo)
Makgatho Mandela was taken ill late last year
Former South African president Nelson Mandela has revealed that his eldest son has died of Aids.

Makgatho Mandela, 54, had been critically ill for several weeks after being admitted to a Johannesburg hospital late last year.

Mr Mandela called for renewed efforts to fight Aids, challenging the taboo that surrounds the disease in Africa.

Mr Mandela's younger son, Thembekile, died in a car crash during his father's imprisonment in the apartheid era.

The apartheid government refused to allow him to attend that funeral.

Mr Mandela cancelled several engagements over the holiday period to be close to his ailing eldest son.

Let us give publicity to HIV/Aids and not hide it
Nelson Mandela

Since he stepped down in 1999, Mr Mandela has campaigned for greater awareness of Aids issues.

On Thursday, as he announced the cause of his son's death, the 86-year-old former president said: "Let us give publicity to HIV/Aids and not hide it, because [that is] the only way to make it appear like a normal illness."

Mr Mandela made the announcement surrounded by family members.

He has three surviving daughters, one from his first marriage and two from his second marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

His first wife, Evelyn, Makgatho's mother, died last year.

Makgatho's wife Zondi died of pneumonia last year.

A star-studded rock concert was held in Cape Town in 2003 in support of Mr Mandela's Aids campaign. A similar event is planned for later this year.

Activists say South Africa has about five million HIV/Aids patients - more than any other country.

Nelson Mandela talks about his son's death

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