Mandela on the mend


JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero and former president Nelson Mandela was comfortable and breathing without difficulty yesterday — his fifth day in hospital after being treated for pneumonia, South Africa’s presidency said.

Online/Sunday Times

The frail 94-year-old, one of the towering figures of modern history, was admitted last Wednesday suffering his third bout of pneumonia in four months. Doctors drained a build-up of fluid, known as a pleural effusion or “water on the lungs”.

“This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty,” President Jacob Zuma’s office said in a statement. “He continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable.

“Yes, indeed, it is a good sign, it’s heartening. But as I keep reminding . . . he is 94 years of age,” Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj told local media.

However, there were no details yesterday on how long Mandela would remain in the undisclosed hospital. The doctors’ advice is understood to be at odds with the wishes of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has repeatedly insisted to his family that he wishes to spend his final days in his ancestral home in Qunu, his childhood village in the Eastern Cape.

Mandela’s recent health troubles have triggered an outpouring of prayers, but have also seen South Africans come to terms with his mortality. He has been admitted to hospital four times in the past four months as his health has declined.

The former president is idolised at home, where he is seen as the architect of South Africa’s peaceful transition from a white minority-ruled police state to a hope-filled democracy.

Nearly 20 years after he came to power in 1994, the first black president remains a unifying symbol in a country still riven by racial tension and inequality.


  1. End of the road for the great man. Sesilindele okuzayo – anything can happen from now on – but for sure, you have done your tour of duty!

  2. Madiba is an example of rare breed of leaders in Africa and the world at large.
    The respect comes naturally without having to tell people that you are great.
    Get well soon Africa’s Icon.

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