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Nelson Mandela 'comfortable' after night in hospital

The 94-year-old former president, known as ‘Madiba’, was admitted to hospital yesterday for what were described as “normal” tests for a man of his age.

Mandela celebrating his 94th birthday in July.
Mandela celebrating his 94th birthday in July.
Image: Schalk van Zuydam/AP/Press Association Images

NELSON MANDELA IS “comfortable”, the South African government said today after the former president spent the night in hospital, for medical tests described as “consistent with his age”.

President Jacob Zuma visited the country’s 94-year-old first black president who was hospitalised a day earlier and said he “found him comfortable, and in good care.”

The iconic leader was admitted yesterday for what Zuma’s spokesman and former Mandela prison inmate Mac Maharaj said was for tests and medical attention consistent with the nanogenarian’s age.

It was the second time the 94-year-old and increasingly frail Mandela was hospitalised this year and officials have moved to allay fears around his health.

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 yesterday.

‘No cause for alarm’

The South African government reported he was doing well shortly after he was taken in for “normal” tests “consistent with his age” and insisted there was “no cause for alarm”.

Keith Khoza spokesman of the ruling ANC party, which Mandela once led, said “he is in perfect health, everything is well, it’s just that he has to undergo these regular check ups.”

Officials have refused to give more details about his condition and the tests he is taking or say which hospital he was at.

Security appeared to have been beefed up however at 1 Military Hospital on the outskirts of the capital 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 Football World Cup final in 2010.

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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.

- AFP, 2012

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