Johannesburg: South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela remained in a hospital on Easter on Sunday after being admitted for a recurrence of pneumonia four days ago, but doctors said the former president was making steady progress. President Jacob Zuma's office is yet to issue updates on the revered 94-year-old statesman's health condition since an official statement on Saturday.
"Doctors advise that due to the lung infection former, President Mandela had developed a pleural effusion which was tapped. This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty. He continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable," Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in the statement yesterday. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, often fondly called by his clan name 'Madiba', was re-admitted to an undisclosed hospital in Pretoria before midnight on Wednesday for the third time in four months.
Earlier this month, Mandela spent a night at a Pretoria hospital where he underwent a successful medical examination. Three months ago, he was admitted for 18 days for treatment of the lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones. It was his longest stint in hospital since his release from prison in 1990. Mandela had a long history of lung problems, dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid. While in jail he contracted tuberculosis. Mandela served as South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1999 and is widely regarded as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid and for democracy.