Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela`s eldest daughter on Thursday lashed out at foreign media "vultures" for failing to respect African custom and the family`s feelings in their bid to cover the deteriorating medical condition of the anti-apartheid hero who remains on life support in a hospital.
"There is an element of racism to their attitude," Makaziwe Mandela said about the foreign media contingent camped outside the Pretoria hospital where Mandela was being treated.
Makaziwe said the foreign media failed to respect African custom and the family`s feelings.
"It is like, truly, vultures waiting when the lion has devoured the buffalo, waiting there, you know, for the last carcasses. That is the image that we have as a family," she told SABC television.
"It is very crass. The fact that my dad is a global icon, one of the 25 most influential people of the 20th century, does not mean that people cannot respect the privacy and dignity of my dad.
"And, I don`t want to say this, but I am going to say it: there is sort of a racist element with many of the foreign media where they just cross boundaries."
Mandela said her family drew hope from the fact that the gravely ill statesman was still trying to respond when they spoke to him, but said he did not "look good" and "anything is imminent".
She accused news crews of obstructing entry to the hospital. "You have no idea what is happening at the hospital... You can`t even enter the hospital or you can`t even go out of the hospital because they are making themselves such a nuisance."
"We don`t mind the interest, but I just think it has gone overboard... They violate all boundaries. I think at this point in time, as a family, as an African, I know at this time you have to be in peace, you have to have a sense of decorum, that is what is required, and I don`t know how people come here and just violate everything."