Mandela hospitalized with lung infection

S. Africans offer get-well messages, prayers for recovery in latest setback
2013-06-09T00:00:00Z Mandela hospitalized with lung infectionThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans on Saturday said their thoughts were with former President Nelson Mandela, who was in "serious but stable" condition after being taken to a hospital to be treated for a recurring lung infection.

Mandela, 94, was treated in a hospital several times in recent months, with the last discharge coming on April 6 after doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from his lung area. He has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under apartheid.

A small girl and her father stood outside Mandela's Johannesburg home with a stone on which was written a get-well message for Mandela, who helped end white racist rule and became the country's first black president in all-race elections in 1994.

A young boy brought a bouquet of flowers that he handed over to guards at the house.

Elsewhere in the city, some worshippers prayed for Mandela during an outdoor gathering.

"If the time comes, we wish for him a good way to go," said Noel Ngwenya, a security officer who was in the congregation.

"During the past few days, former President Nelson Mandela has had a recurrence of lung infection," said a statement from the office of President Jacob Zuma. "This morning at about 1:30 a.m., his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital."

It said Mandela was receiving expert medical care and "doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable."

Zuma wished Mandela a quick recovery on behalf of the government and the nation and requested that the media and the public respect the privacy of the former leader and his family, the statement said.

Mandela's wife, humanitarian activist Graca Machel, canceled an appearance at an international forum on hunger and nutrition in London on Saturday, citing "personal reasons," said Colleen Harris, a spokeswoman for the meeting.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Machel had canceled her attendance at the London meeting on Thursday, and had accompanied Mandela to the hospital on Saturday morning, the South African Press Association reported.

"We need to hold our thoughts and keep him in our minds," Maharaj said. "He is a fighter, he has recovered many times from very serious conditions and he will be with us. Let's pray for him and help him to get better."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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