Nelson Mandela Spends Second Day In Hospital



Nelson Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital on Saturday – for the third time this year

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has spent a second night in hospital where he is being treated for a lung infection.

Doctors say there has been little change and his condition continues to be described as serious but stable.

A presidential spokesman told the BBC there would be no update before midday local time (10:00 GMT).

Mr Mandela, 94, had been ill for some days before being taken to a Pretoria hospital early on Saturday.

“It’s time to let him go” reads the main headline in South Africa’s Sunday Times this morning. It quotes Nelson Mandela’s friend and fellow struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni, urging Mandela’s family to “release him spiritually and put their faith in the hands of God.” But in most other local papers the frail Nelson Mandela’s latest hospitalisation is treated – as one might, perhaps, expect after so many previous “scares” – with far less sense of drama.

The City Press leads on a new twist in the long-running scandal of President Zuma’s lavish home refurbishments, while the tabloid Sunday World is more preoccupied with celebrity stories. The Sowetan Live website captures something of the increasingly phlegmatic public attitude towards Mr Mandela’s fading by quoting this Tweet – “Let him die with dignity. It’s not a circus folks.” While others urge the 94-year-old to fight on, a man in Mandela’s home village, is quoted as saying “I think we should just accept it that Mandela is old and he will go soon.”

It is the third time this year he has been admitted to hospital.

The BBC’s Karen Allen in Pretoria says there is a sense of calm across South Africa, and also a quiet hope that the man who led the fight against apartheid may regain his strength once again.

Mr Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, cancelled a scheduled appearance in London to remain at her husband’s bedside.

On Saturday, presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said that although Mr Mandela was again suffering from pneumonia, he was breathing on his own – “a positive sign”.

The former president’s close friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu has led calls for South Africans to pray for him and wish him a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma has continued to hold engagements away from the capital.

He has indicated that he will visit Mr Mandela if doctors advise him to do so.

Nelson Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999.

He was previously imprisoned for 27 years, and is believed to have suffered damaged lungs while working in a quarry.

He contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while being held in jail on the windswept Robben Island.

He retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen in public since.

Mr Mandela was receiving care at his Johannesburg home when his latest lung problems returned.

He was admitted to hospital after his condition worsened at 01:30 on Saturday (23:30 GMT Friday).

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said Mandela is in his thoughts, while the White House has also sent good wishes.


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