Mandela in 'good spirits': Presidency

By Drum Digital
29 March 2013

Former president Nelson Mandela is in 'good spirits' as he continues his hospital stay to receive treatment for a recurring lung infection, the presidency said on Friday.

"Mandela is in good spirits and enjoyed a full breakfast this morning," said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj in a statement.

"The doctors report that he is making steady progress."

Maharaj said Mandela remained under treatment and observation after he was taken to an undisclosed hospital just before midnight on Wednesday.

On Thursday, SA president Jacob Zuma told BBC news that people needed to "slow down the anxiety".

"In Zulu, when someone passes away who is very old, people say he or she has gone home. I think those are some of the things we should be thinking about," the news service quoted him as saying.

Also on Thursday, US President Barack Obama sent thoughts and prayers to Madiba.

Obama "has found president Mandela to be an inspiration in his own personal life, but also in his professional career," his spokesman Josh Earnest said.

On Friday, tweets poured in from across the world.

US singer Josh Groban tweeted that he was sending his love to Mandela.

"I hope he feels better soon. The world needs him as long as we can have him. #madiba"

Marzia Faraz from Afghanistan also tweeted a message of support.

"How fortunate we are to live in #mandela era! One of world's notable peacemaker. Hope you feel better soon."

SA icon Evita Bezuidenhout tweeted a promise to supply Mandela with chocolate. "May this be a Good Friday for everyone, especially our beloved Madiba. Your Easter egg is waiting for you, liewe ou skat (dear old sweetheart) XXX".

Earlier this month, Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up relating to a long-standing abdominal complaint. He was discharged the following day.

In February, he was admitted to hospital with a stomach ailment.

Last December, Mandela spent 18 days in hospital during which he underwent an operation to remove gallstones and received treatment for his recurring lung infection.

South Africa's first black president has a long history of lung problems, dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid. While in jail he contracted tuberculosis.

On Friday, a media contingent had gathered outside Mandela's otherwise quiet Houghton home in Johannesburg.

-by Sapa

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