Nelson Mandela 'comfortable' after night in Pretoria hospital


Nelson Mandela looks at a copy of his new book "Nelson Mandela, by himself" a book of quotations from him book. The book was launched June 27 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg.


Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Former president Nelson Mandela is “comfortable” after spending the night at a Pretoria hospital where he is undergoing medical tests, officials say.

The 94-year-old Nobel peace laureate was flown Saturday from his rural home in the Eastern Cape to the capital Pretoria to receive medical attention, sparking concern and speculation over his health.

President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela this morning and “found him comfortable, and in good care,” a statement said

No further information has been released about the reason for Mandela’s admission to hospital, or when he will be discharged.

But South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper quoted an unnamed person close to the Mandela family as saying: "He has not been talking ... he is not looking good. It's clear that something is troubling him."

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Mandela, known in South Africa as “Madiba,” his clan name and a term of respect, “will receive medical attention from time to time which is consistent with his age," said a statement from Zuma's office Saturday.

Mac Maharaj, Zuma's spokesman, emphasized there is “no cause for alarm”.

Mandela was last hospitalized in February for what was described as “routine tests,” and later turned out to have been a minor surgical procedure to determine the cause of abdominal pain.

Former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughter Zindzi, seemingly unconcerned, attended a football match in Soweto between the Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, local media reported.

Meanwhile speculation continues to swirl around a South African military plane that crashed Wednesday after vanishing en route from Pretoria to Mthatha, the nearest airport to Mandela’s home in Qunu.

There have been persistent rumors that the aircraft was carrying medical personnel or medical supplies for Mandela.

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