Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela is suffering from a recurrent lung infection but is responding to treatment, a government statement said on Tuesday. Mandela, 94, is spending his fourth day in the hospital in the South African capital city of Pretoria.
“Doctors have concluded the tests, and these have revealed a recurrence of a previous lung infection, for which Madiba is receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment,” the statement said. ‘Madiba’ is Mandela’s clan name.
Mandela was admitted on Saturday after being flown from his home village of Qunu, which is in a remote, rural part of the Eastern Cape province. When the news broke that Mandela was moved to the hospital in Pretoria, people began to worry.
One South African man told CBS News, “We need him around us, even though he’s old, but he’s our grandfather so we need him. We still need his wisdom.”
Mandela has been retired from politics since 1999 after opting not to serve a second term as the South African President but is a legendary anti-apartheid activist. His Presidential election in 1994 made him the country’s first black president and the oldest in South African history to serve at 75 years of age.
His wife Graca Machel told ENews Central Africa (ENCA) that his trademark “sparkle” was waning but refused to give details about Mandela’s health status.
“I mean, this spirit and this sparkle, you see that somehow it’s fading,” she said. “To see him ageing, it’s something also which pains you [...] You understand and you know it has to happen,”
With concern growing over the former President’s health, the nation’s Surgeon General is expected to provide an update on Mandela’s condition later on Tuesday.