Nelson Mandela recovering but stays in hospital

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital three times in the past two years.

The former South African President, Nelson Mandela, is being kept in hospital despite "looking much better", according to the government.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said doctors treating the 94 year old are "in no hurry to send him home".

Mr Mandela was admitted to hospital 12 days ago and has been treated for a lung infection and gallstones.

Doctors are satisfied with his progress but say he needs "extraordinary care" because of his age.

Mr Mandela led the struggle against white-minority rule before being elected the first black president in 1994.

He contracted tuberculosis while on the windswept Robben Island where he served 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned for sabotage.

His lungs are said to have been damaged when he worked in a prison quarry.

Mr Mandela remains an important political symbol in South Africa, says the BBC's Karen Allen, in Johannesburg.

More so at the moment, our correspondent adds, as the governing African National Congress has re-selected Jacob Zuma as party president and returned Cyril Ramaphosa - the millionaire businessman - back into the political spotlight, as his deputy.

Once a leading trade unionist, Mr Ramaphosa became the symbol of black capitalism in South Africa after the ANC came to power at the end of apartheid.

When Mr Mandela overlooked him for the role of his deputy, he was said to have been so upset that he refused to attend Mr Mandela's inauguration as president.

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