Mandela Remains Hospitalized as Charity Campaign Starts

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, remained hospitalized for a 12th day as his charity began a campaign to encourage volunteer work to mark his 95th birthday.

“His condition remains the same,” Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for President Jacob Zuma, said by phone today. Although Mandela’s condition relating to a recurring lung infection remains “serious,” he is recovering, Zuma said in a speech posted on the presidency’s website on June 16.

Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years for opposing white minority rule under apartheid, took office in 1994 after his African National Congress won the all-race elections. Known by his clan name Madiba, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 together with former President F.W. de Klerk.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on June 8. It’s his fourth hospitalization since December, after he was treated for pneumonia in April and had gall stones removed.

The Nelson Mandela International Day campaign for his birthday on July 18 will be the biggest yet, Sello Hatang, chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, told reporters in Johannesburg today.

“We see this as an opportunity for people to rise above Madiba’s hospitalization,” he said. It’s a chance for all to see “that the legacy lives through each and every one of us doing something good.”

The campaign encourages people to do 67 minutes of charity work on his birthday to commemorate the years Mandela spent working for human rights and democracy.

(Updates with comment on charity campaign in fifth paragraph.)
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