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Lung infection takes Mandela back to hospital


Former South African president Nelson Mandela has been readmitted to hospital with a recurrent lung infection, the presidency said Thursday, urging people to pray for the frail anti-apartheid hero.

The 94-year-old, who has had several recent health scares, was hospitalized “due to the recurrence of his lung infection” just before midnight on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma’s office said in a statement.

“He was conscious” when he was admitted, presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP.

It marks the second time this month that the Nobel peace laureate has spent the night in hospital and follows a nearly three-week stay in December for the lung infection and for gallstones surgery, after which he was released for home-based care.

The hospital stay earlier this month was for a scheduled medical checkup.

“Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical treatment and comfort,” said the presidency.

Zuma wished “Madiba”, as South Africa’s first black president is affectionately known, a quick recovery and asked for people around the world to prayer for him.

“We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts,” he said.

“We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery.”

Mandela is adored in South Africa where he is seen as the symbol of the country’s peaceful shift into democracy after apartheid.

He has not appeared in public since South Africa’s Football World Cup final in 2010, six years after retiring.

Last month, two of his granddaughters released a picture of a smiling Mandela sitting with his youngest great-grandson in an armchair.

Mandela stepped down after one term as president.

Rumours of his failing health or even death flare up periodically, forcing the government to issue assurances that all is well.

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