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Rediff.com  » News » Nelson Mandela still in hospital, making 'steady progress'

Nelson Mandela still in hospital, making 'steady progress'

March 29, 2013 18:30 IST

Nelson Mandela, the revered anti-apartheid icon and former South African President, is in "good spirits" and making "steady progress" at a hospital for a recurring lung infection, the presidency said on Friday.

"The Presidency wishes to advise that former President Nelson Mandela is in good spirits; he enjoyed a full breakfast this morning. The doctors report that he is making steady progress," President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement.

The statement said 94-year-old Mandela "remains under treatment and observation in hospital".

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was re-admitted to an undisclosed hospital in Pretoria before midnight on Wednesday for the third time in four months.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj thanked the media and the public for their cooperation in respecting the privacy of Mandela and his family.

Earlier this month, Mandela spent a night at a Pretoria hospital where he underwent a successful medical examination.

Three months ago, he was admitted for 18 days for treatment of a lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones. It was his longest stint in hospital since his release from prison in 1990.

Mandela has a long history of lung problems, dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid. While in jail, he had contracted tuberculosis.

Mandela, one of the world's most revered statesmen, served as South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1999. He is widely regarded as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid and for democracy.

Meanwhile, Zuma said Madiba, as Mandela is often fondly called, was doing "very well" so far and asked people not to panic.

"Of course I have been saying to people, you should bear in mind Madiba is no longer that young and if he goes for check-ups every now and again, I don't think people should alarmed about it. I would like to really say the country must not panic," Zuma was quoted as saying by the BBC.

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