Mandela likely to spend Christmas in hospital

Former South African leader Nelson Mandela will probably spend Christmas Day in a hospital because his doctors want to be satisfied his health has improved satisfactorily before sending him home, a South African media outlet reported.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the physicians caring for Mandela had given no indication of an “imminent discharge” from a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, according to IOL, a South African news website.

Mandela was hospitalised on Dec 8. He was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had gallstone surgery; officials have said his condition has improved and that he was responding to treatment.

President Jacob Zuma acknowledged several days ago that Mandela’s condition had been serious.

“They (the doctors) say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress,” Maharaj said, according to IOL.

“We urge the public to continue supporting Madiba,” he said, using Mandela’s clan name, an affectionate term. Maharaj appealed for people to “understand that he is 94-years-old and needs extraordinary care.”

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he is praying for a prompt recovery for Mandela. Radio 702, a South African station, yesterday broadcast an interview with Tutu in which he said he exchanged text messages about Mandela with the anti-apartheid icon’s wife, Graca Machel.


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