AFP; MAIL & GUARDIAN, NEWS24 (South Africa); SOWETAN LIVE(Soweto)
JOHANNESBURG - Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital with a recurrent lung infection. The news was confirmed by current President Jacob Zuma’s office on Thursday morning, according to Cape Town’s News24.
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Mandela in 2008. Photo by South Africa The Good News
The 94-year old anti-apartheid hero was hospitalized late Wednesday night and President Zuma wished Madiba, as he is fondly known in South Africa, a speedy recovery.
"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," President Zuma said.
This is the second time this month that the Nobel peace laureate has spent the night in hospital, says the AFP, and follows a nearly three-week stay in December for the lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones.
South African daily the Mail and Guardian notes that his December stay was the longest hospital stint since he was freed from Robben Island in 1990. Mandela has a history of lung problems after he suffered tuberculosis in 1988 after 25 years spent in prison.
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Mandela's cell on Robben Island. Photo by Paul Mannix
The Sowetan Live reports that Mandela’s last major public appearance was nearly three years ago, at the FIFA World Cup Final in July 2010. Having served as South Africa's president from 1994 to 1999, Mandela now spends his time in his childhood home of Qunu, a rural village in the Eastern Cape province.