Nelson Mandela showing great resilience, say doctors

Nelson Mandela: 'comfortable'. Picture: Getty
Nelson Mandela: 'comfortable'. Picture: Getty
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FORMER South African president Nelson Mandela, who has been in hospital since early June with a lung infection, is showing “great resilience”, though he remains in a critical but stable condition, the presidency said yesterday.

“While at times his condition becomes unstable, the doctors indicate that the former president has demonstrated great resilience and his condition tends to stabilise as a result of medical interventions,” it said in its latest update on the condition of the 95-year-old anti-apartheid hero known in South Africa as Mandiba.

“Doctors are still working hard to effect a turnaround and a further improvement in his health and to keep the former president comfortable,” the presidency added in the statement.

It is the first update on Mandela’s health in almost two weeks, when doctors said that the health of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was still serious but was slowly improving. His daughter Zindzi also said on 9 August that her father was now able to sit up – a significant improvement.

News of his hospitalisation in June with a recurring lung infection attracted worldwide attention for the revered statesman, who is admired as a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.

Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital on 18 July, showered with tributes from around the world. He spent nearly three decades in prison before being released and being elected South Africa’s first black president in multi-racial elections in 1994 that ended apartheid rule.

Mandela’s 27 years in prison under white minority rule included 18 years on the notorious Robben Island penal colony.

His lung infection dates back to this time, when he and other prisoners were forced to work in a limestone quarry.

South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma, flew to Malaysia yesterday on an official visit where he is expected to receive a global peace award on behalf of former president Mandela.