Mandela’s health said to be improving

Updated: 09:48, Monday April 1, 2013

Mandela's health said to be improving

Nelson Mandela’s health is improving and he will continue to receive treatment for a recurrence of pneumonia, the South African presidency says, as the anti-apartheid icon spends a fifth night in hospital.

Doctors ‘have reported a further improvement in his condition’, President Jacob Zuma’s office said on Sunday, adding Mandela ‘had a restful day and continues to receive treatment’.

The frail 94-year-old, one of the towering figures of modern history, was admitted late on Wednesday for his third hospitalisation in four months.

Doctors drained a build-up of fluid, known as a pleural effusion or ‘water on the lungs’, that had developed from the lung infection.

That procedure helped him ‘breathe without difficulty’, Zuma’s office said on Saturday.

It was unclear how long South Africa’s first black president would remain hospitalised. Last year he had an 18-day hospital stint in December.

Mandela’s recent health troubles saw an outpouring of prayers as Christians celebrated Easter Sunday, but have also seen South Africans come to terms with the mortality of the revered Nobel Peace Prize winner.

‘Yes, we are concerned that he is ailing, and he is getting worse, naturally we should be concerned. I think this is the question in the back of many of our minds: when is the end? Is he going to die?’ Father Sebastian Rossouw, an assistant parish priest at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto township told worshippers.

‘We should rather celebrate what he stood for, and what he continues to stand for, that he has been an icon of peace, an icon of service,’ he said at the church, once a pivotal centre in the resistance against apartheid.

At home and abroad, the former president is idolised and revered as the architect of South Africa’s peaceful transition from white minority-ruled police state to hope-filled democracy.

Nearly 20 years after he came to power in 1994, Mandela remains a unifying symbol in a country still riven by racial tensions and deep inequality.


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