Mandela’s Wife Says She’s Less Anxious About Condition

Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, said the condition of the hospitalized former South African president has improved over the last week.

Mandela, 94, who has been in the hospital in Pretoria, the country’s capital, since June 8 “is responding to treatment,” she said in an interview with Johannesburg’s SAFM Radio. “I’m less anxious than I was a week ago.”

The nation’s first black president, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, spent 27 years in prison for opposing white-minority rule. Most of that time was spent on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town, where he contracted tuberculosis.

Mandela was admitted to the hospital more than a month ago to receive treatment for a recurring lung infection. His condition was downgraded to critical on June 24. Crowds have posted signs of support, gathered in prayer and sung outside the hospital to pay tribute to the former leader. This is his fourth, and longest, stay in the hospital since December.

Mandela, who was married twice before, wed Machel in 1998. She was previously married to Samora Machel, the president of Mozambique who died in a 1986 plane crash.

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