JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela remained in hospital on Wednesday, a spokesman said, almost three weeks after he was admitted for treatment for a recurring lung infection.
The 94-year-old former leader was visited on Christmas Day by his wife Graca and other family members along with President Jacob Zuma, who said Mandela was “looking much better” and “in good spirits”.
Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj, who was a political prisoner with Mandela during his detention on Robben Island, said there were “no new updates” on his condition, adding that he “remains as he was yesterday”.
Maharaj refused to be drawn on when the Nobel Peace laureate would be discharged.
Mandela’s grandson Mandla told a local television station that the family was sad he had not been able to join them on Christmas Day.
“We are greatly saddened by his absence… we didn’t anticipate that he would be away for so long,” Mandla said from Mvezo village, where he is the local chief.
Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on December 8, after being flown from his rural home in Qunu in the south of the country.
He also underwent surgery to remove gallstones during his hospital stay, his longest since coming out of prison in 1990 after 27 years in detention.
Messages of support and prayers for the recovery of the much loved icon have been pouring in from all over the country.