AFP: Nelson Mandela is comfortable, after a restful night in hospital for tests, the South African government said Sunday as the leader spent his second day in hospital.
President Jacob Zuma visited the country’s first black president and said he had found him “comfortable, and in good care.” It was the second time the 94-year-old and increasingly frail Mandela had been hospitalised this year. While officials are trying to allay fears over his health, they are not releasing any details of his condition.
The tests and medical attention were consistent with his age, he added.
Medical experts say there is nothing out of the ordinary for a person of Mandela’s age to require in-patient attention from time to time.
The anti-apartheid hero and Nobel Peace Prize laureate was flown from his home village of Qunu in the southeast of the country to a hospital in the capital Pretoria on Saturday.
The once spry boxer, who stayed fit during his 27 years in prison by doing calisthenics in his cell, has grown increasingly frail. But his stature as one of the world’s most famous and loved public figures remains undimmed.
Keith Khoza spokesman of the ruling ANC party, which Mandela once led, said the party wished him well.
Security appeared to have been beefed up however at 1 Military Hospital on the outskirts of Pretoria. Military police were searching the trunks of all the cars entering the hospital complex, according to an AFP photographer.
South Africa’s military has in the past been responsible for Mandela’s health.
The revered statesman has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup final in 2010.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known by South Africans, has all-but retired from public life, choosing to live in his childhood hometown of Qunu in the rural Eastern Cape.
His last hospitalisation was in February when he spent a night in hospital for a minor exploratory procedure to investigate persistent abdominal pain.
In January 2011, Mandela had the country on edge when he was admitted for two nights for an acute respiratory infection. He was discharged in a stable condition for home-based care and intense medical monitoring.
Mandela has also had prostate cancer, for which he was successfully treated in 2001. He had cataract surgery in 1994, just months after he took office as president.
After years fighting white-only rule, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the last white president, FW de Klerk, in 1993.
A year later, he crowned his long fight against minority rule by becoming the country’s first black president at the end of apartheid.
The last pictures of Mandela published in the media were in August when he received a visit from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at his home.