Mandela Responds to Care After ’Difficult Days’: Zuma

Nelson Mandela is responding better to treatment for his recurring lung infection today after a “difficult few days,” South African President Jacob Zuma said.

“I am happy to report than Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning,” Zuma told lawmakers in Cape Town today, referring to the former South African leader by his clan name. “We are very happy with the progress that he is now making.”

Mandela, 94, was hospitalized June 8 for the fourth time since December. The nation’s first black president is in “serious, but stable” condition, Zuma’s office said yesterday.

Mandela led the country for five years after his African National Congress party won all-race elections in 1994. He spent 27 years in prison, most of them on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where he contracted tuberculosis. Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for bringing about a peaceful end to apartheid.

Mandela was treated in the hospital in April for pneumonia and had to have fluid drained from around his lungs. He also had gall stones removed this year. While his latest illness was affecting Mandela’s respiration, he was still able to breathe on his own, Mac Maharaj, Zuma’s spokesman, said on June 8. Mandela is in intensive care, Maharaj told SAfm radio today.

Today marks the 49th anniversary of Mandela’s sentencing to life imprisonment in 1964, Zuma said.

“On this crucial historical anniversary, our thoughts are with President Mandela and his family,” Zuma said. “We appreciate the messages of support from all over the world.”

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