Africa

Nelson Mandela visited by family in hospital

  • 1 April 2013
  • From the section Africa

Members of Nelson Mandela's family have visited him in hospital, where he is being treated for a sixth day for a recurring bout of pneumonia.

South Africa's presidency reported the visit in a statement, saying there was "no significant change in his condition".

This latest spell in hospital, which began on Wednesday, is Mr Mandela's fourth in just over two years.

There are no details yet on how much longer he will stay there.

"[Mr Mandela] spent part of Family Day today with some members of his family, who appreciate the support they have been receiving from the public," the statement said.

It did not specify how many visitors he had had or who they were.

A previous statement on Sunday evening said the 94-year-old former South African president "had a restful day" and was improving.

Mr Mandela - who led the nation's struggle against apartheid - first contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while detained on windswept Robben Island.

His lungs are said to have been damaged while working in a prison quarry.

Prayers 'for Madiba'

Over the weekend, churches across the country held prayers for Mr Mandela.

President Jacob Zuma thanked "the thousands of South Africans who prayed for Madiba at various Easter church services".

Madiba is Mandela's clan name and is widely used to refer to him.

A service, at Midvaal - south of Johannesburg - was attended by a grand-daughter of the former leader, Ndileka Mandela.

On Saturday, Mr Zuma's office said Mr Mandela was breathing without difficulty and that excess fluid had been drained from his lungs.

The hospital Mr Mandela is attending has not been disclosed.

Last December Mr Mandela was treated for a lung infection and gallstones - his longest period in hospital since leaving prison in 1990.

In February, he was treated for a stomach condition.

Mr Mandela served as South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1999 and is regarded by many as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid.

Despite his long imprisonment, Mr Mandela forgave his former enemies and as president urged South Africans of all races to work together and seek reconciliation.

In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

His main home is in Qunu, a small rural village in Eastern Cape province, where he says he spent the happiest days of his childhood.

However, doctors said in December he should remain at his home in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton to be close to medical facilities.

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