South Africa’s iconic former president Mandela remains hospitalised undergoing tests for age-consistent ailments, as the Presidency asks well-wishers to respect the 94 year-old’s privacy.

Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital in Pretoria on Saturday, for “medical attention”, although the cause for his hospitalisation has remained undisclosed.  The Presidency has revealed only that Mandela’s hospitalisation is not indicative of critical illness, but rather that he is having tests conducted for ailments “consistent with his age”.

Reaffirming that Mandela’s condition is not critical, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said: “As said before, former president Mandela will receive medical attention from time to time which is consistent with his age,” referring to Mandela’s increasing number of short-term hospital visits over recent years, the former president having been hospitalised last year for respiratory illness, and in February for abdominal surgery.

South Africa’s current president Jacob Zuma visited Mandela in hospital on Sunday, following which the president’s office confirmed that Mandela is doing well, announcing that Zuma found him: “comfortable, and in good care.”

The president’s office also appealed for well-wishers to respect the privacy of the Mandela family – Mandela’s iconic status as the grandfather of South Africa prompting wide-spread concern in response to fluctuations in his health.

Mandela was South Africa’s president from 1994 until 1999, when he stepped down from the post voluntarily – having been president following the first fully-representative election in the country after the downfall of the apartheid regime.

Madiba – as is Mandela’s clan name- was jailed under the white-rule apartheid regime for his anti-segregation activism, spending the majority of his 27 year prison term on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town.

He played an integral role in negotiating the end of apartheid forging a strong relationship with the white presidency, whereafter he led the country in a policy of reconciliation.  Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 alongside white former president F.W. de  Klerk for their work in putting an end to apartheid.


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