South Africa: Mandela Taken to Hospital

(JOHANNESBURG) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela is in “serious but stable” condition after being taken to a hospital to be treated for a lung infection, the government said Saturday, prompting an outpouring of concern from admirers of a man who helped to end white racist rule. Mandela’s wife, humanitarian activist Graca Machel, canceled an appearance at an international forum on hunger and nutrition in London on Saturday, citing “personal reasons,” said Colleen Harris, a spokeswoman for the meeting. Mandela, who is 94 years old, was treated in a hospital several times in recent months, with the last discharge coming on April 6 after doctors drained fluid from his lung area after diagnosing him with pneumonia. He has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under apartheid. (MORE: Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership) “During the past few days, former President Nelson Mandela has had a recurrence of lung infection,” said a statement from the office of President Jacob Zuma. “This morning at about 1.30a.m., his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital.” It said Mandela was receiving expert medical care and “doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable.” Zuma wished Mandela a quick recovery on behalf of the government and the nation and requested that the media and the public respect the privacy of the former leader and his family, the statement said. “We need to hold our thoughts and keep him in our minds,” said Mac Maharaj, the president’s spokesman. “He is a fighter, he has recovered many times from very serious conditions and he will be with us. Let’s pray for him and help him to get better.” The African National Congress, the ruling party that has dominated politics in South Africa since the end of apartheid, said it hoped Mandela, known affectionately by his clan name Madiba, would get better soon. “We will keep President Mandela and his family in our thoughts and prayers at this time and call upon South Africans…………….

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