Nelson Mandela remains in the hospital recovering from a lung infection, despite media reports to the contrary on Saturday morning. The office of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma confirmed Mandela’s status after the conflicting report.
The update on the anti-apartheid icon’s condition remains unchanged from a previous report last week. It denied reports by the media that Mandela was released to continue his recovery at home.
Mandela, called by his clan name Madiba, was admitted to the hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection, reports The Associated Press.
Since then, the former South African president has remained in a fragile state. The few details released about his condition have been controlled by Zuma’s office and Mandela’s family.
Since his initial admittance to the hospital, Nelson Mandela’s condition has remained critical, though doctors assure he is stable. The statement by the presidency on Saturday read, in part:
“Madiba is still in hospital in Pretoria, and remains in a critical but stable condition. At times his condition becomes unstable, but he responds to medical interventions.”
The BBC notes that Nelson Mandela’s lung problems stem from time he spent as a political prisoner during apartheid. During his 27 years in a labor camp, Mandela contracted tuberculosis. After his release and the successful removal of apartheid, Mandela became South Africa’s first president in 1994.
While it isn’t the first time Mandela has been admitted to the hospital for lung troubles, it is the longest time he has spent there. Throughout the stay, President Zuma has urged the country and Mandela’s supporters to pray for his recovery and keep him in their thoughts.
Mandela has not appeared in public in years, but he is still incredibly popular. South Africans have long called him the father of democracy. But questions remain as to whether or not Nelson Mandela will recover enough to leave the hospital.