Mandela "looking much better", to stay in hospital

Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:07pm EST
 
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By Xola Potelwa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nelson Mandela, South Africa's 94-year-old former president, is "looking much better" after being treated for a lung infection and gallstones, but will remain in hospital for the time being, the government said on Tuesday.

The country's first black president was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on December 8 after being flown from his home village of Qunu in a remote part of the Eastern Cape province.

He was treated initially for a recurrent lung infection and then had a successful procedure to have gallstones removed.

Mandela, who came to power in historic elections in 1994 after decades struggling against apartheid, remains a symbol of resistance to racism and injustice at home and around the world.

Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said he had visited Mandela on Tuesday. "He is looking much better," he said in a statement, adding that the Nobel Peace laureate had spoken to him.

Doctors were satisfied with his progress, Maharaj said.

"They say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet."

Maharaj said that, given his advanced age, Mandela needed "extraordinary care". "If he spends more days in hospital, it is because that necessary care is being provided," he added.   Continued...

 
Former South African president Nelson Mandela looks on as he celebrates his birthday at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape July 18, 2012. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko