Mandela shows 'great resilience' but needs 'medical interventions'

South African government says former leader remains critical but stable

The South African government says former leader Nelson Mandela remains in critical but stable condition in hospital Fole photograph: Johnathan Evans/Reuters

The South African government says former leader Nelson Mandela remains in critical but stable condition in hospital Fole photograph: Johnathan Evans/Reuters

Sat, Aug 24, 2013, 14:53

The South African government says former leader Nelson Mandela remains in critical but stable condition in hospital, though “medical interventions” are required because his health sometimes becomes unstable.

The office of South African president Jacob Zuma said that doctors are working hard for a “turnaround” in the condition of 95-year-old Mr Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital on June 8th with what officials said was a recurring lung infection.

In a statement, Mr Zuma’s office quotes doctors as saying the former president and anti-apartheid leader has shown “great resilience” and that his condition has tended to stabilise after medical treatments when his health deteriorates.

“While at times, his condition becomes unstable, the doctors indicate that the former president has demonstrated great resilience and his condition tends to stabilise as a result of medical interventions,” it said in its latest update on the condition of the former president.

“Doctors are still working hard to effect a turnaround and a further improvement in his health and to keep the former president comfortable,” the presidency added in the statement. It was the first update in almost two weeks on the health of the anti-apartheid hero.

Mr Zuma is urging South Africa to pray for Mr Mandela and to keep him in their thoughts at all times.

News of his hospitalisation in June with a recurring lung infection attracted worldwide attention for the revered statesman, who is admired as a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.

Mr Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital on July 18th, showered with tributes from around the world. He spent nearly three decades in prison before being released and being elected South Africa’s first black president in multi-racial elections in 1994 that ended apartheid rule.

Mr Mandela’s 27 years in prison under white minority rule included 18 years on the notorious Robben Island penal colony. His lung infection dates back to his time, when he and other prisoners were forced to work in a limestone quarry. South Africa’s current president Jacob Zuma will fly to Malaysia on Saturday on an official visit where he will receive a global peace award on behalf of former president Mandela.

Reuters/AP