SAfrica: Mandela In Hospital With Lung Infection

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OHANNESBURG (AP)
— Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa's
first black president, has been admitted to a hospital with a recurring
lung infection, South Africa said Thursday.

Mandela,
94, has become increasingly frail in recent years and has been
hospitalized several times since last year, most recently earlier this
month when he underwent what a presidential spokesman described as a
“successful” medical test. The Nobel laureate is a revered figure in
South Africa, which has honored his legacy of reconciliation by naming
buildings and other places after him and printing his image on national
banknotes.

“I'm so sorry. I'm sad,” said Obed
Mokwana, a Johannesburg resident. “I just try to pray all the time. He
must come very strong again.”

The Nobel
laureate was admitted to a hospital just before midnight Wednesday “due
to the recurrence of his lung infection,” the office of President Jacob
Zuma said in a statement.

“Doctors are
attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical
treatment and comfort,” the statement said. It appealed “for
understanding and privacy in order to allow space to the doctors to do
their work.”

It did not identify the hospital.
In December, Mandela spent three weeks in a hospital in the South
African capital of Pretoria, where he was treated for a lung infection
and had a procedure to remove gallstones.

Zuma wished Mandela a speedy recovery, referring to him affectionately by his clan name, “Madiba.”

“We
appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our
beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts. We
have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do
everything possible to ensure recovery,” the presidential statement
quoted Zuma as saying.

Mandela spent a night
in a hospital and was released on March 10 following a medical test. At
that time, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela was “well.”

In
February 2012, Mandela spent a night in a hospital for minor diagnostic
surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint. In January
2011, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials
initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute
respiratory infection. He was discharged days later.

He also had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985.

Under
South Africa's white-minority apartheid regime, Mandela served 27 years
in prison, where he contracted tuberculosis, before being released in
1990. He later became the nation's first democratically elected
president in 1994 under the banner of the African National Congress,
helping to negotiate a relatively peaceful end to apartheid despite
fears of much greater bloodshed. He served one five-year term as
president before retiring.

Perceived successes
during Mandela's tenure include the introduction of a constitution with
robust protections for individual rights and the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, a panel that heard testimony about
apartheid-era violations of human rights as a kind of national therapy
session. South Africa still struggles with crime, economic inequality
and other social ills.

Mandela last made a public appearance on a major stage when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

He
had spent more time in the rural village of Qunu in Eastern Cape
province, where he grew up. He was visited there in August by Hillary
Clinton, who was U.S. secretary of state at the time.

Doctors
said in December that he should remain at his home in the Johannesburg
neighborhood of Houghton for the time being to be close to medical
facilities that can provide the care he needs.


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