Tuesday 17 October 2017

Mandela visited by ex-wife Winnie as health 'stabilised'

Jason Straziuso Johannesburg

Doctors are doing all they can to improve Nelson Mandela's health as the 94-year-old icon spent a fourth day in the hospital for a recurring lung infection, South Africa's president said as two of Mandela's daughters visited their father.

In a possible sign of the seriousness of Mandela's condition, daughter Zenani Mandela – South Africa's ambassador to Argentina – arrived at the hospital to see her father. Former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela also visited.

Mandela's doctors briefed President Jacob Zuma on the former president's health late on Monday, the president said in a statement.

In an interview, Zuma called Mandela's situation "very serious" but said he has stabilised.

"We need him to be with us and I'm sure that all the messages that have been pouring in to wish him (a) quick and speedy recovery, they're highly welcome," Zuma told broadcaster SABC, adding later: "And we certainly join everyone to say he should recover quickly, and I'm sure, knowing him as I do, he's a good fighter, he will be with us very soon."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that US President Barack Obama, the first lady and everyone at the White House wished Mandela a "speedy recovery".

In a Johannesburg suburb, school children gathered outside his home yesterday and sang songs expressing hope the former president would recover.

Mandela, the leader of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule.

His admission to a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, is Mandela's fourth time being admitted to a hospital for treatment since December. His last discharge came April 6 after doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from his lung area. He retired from public life years ago and had received medical care at his Johannesburg home until his latest transfer to a hospital.

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