Mandela’s Health is ‘Better and Better,’ His Wife Says

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who’s been hospitalized for more than a week to receive treatment for pneumonia, is “getting better and better,” his wife Graca Machel said.

“The doctors want to be absolutely sure he’s strong enough to go home and nothing is going to recur,” Machel said yesterday in comments broadcast by Johannesburg-based eNCA. “Madiba is fine,” she said, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

Mandela, 94, was admitted to an undisclosed hospital in Pretoria on March 27, less than three weeks after he stayed overnight for a check-up. South Africa’s first black president, who spent 27 years in prison for opposing the government under white minority rule, had fluid drained from his lungs at the weekend.

“He is improving continuously,” Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for President Jacob Zuma, said in a phone interview today. “Doctor’s haven’t indicated when he might be able to go home. The doctors prefer to err on the side of caution.”

Mandela led South Africa for five years after the African National Congress won the first all-race elections in 1994 that marked the end of apartheid.

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