Nelson Mandela’s hospital stay has been extended through Christmas as he continues to recover from a lung infection and gallstone surgery. The former South African leader was admitted on December 8, and though his condition has been described as stable, doctors are reluctant to allow the 94-year-old Mandela to leave. South African President Jacob Zuma expressed that Mandela’s medical problems were serious several days ago.
A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president 18 years ago. In recent years he has taken a more reserved role in global politics, but is still recognized as one of the world’s foremost civil rights leaders.
“They (the doctors) say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress,” Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said, according to South African news outlet IOL. “We urge the public to continue supporting Madiba,” he continued, referring to Mandela’s clan name. “Understand that he is 94 years old and needs extraordinary care.”
Zuma called upon South African citizens to pray for Mandela’s health recovery, praising his elder as “an unparalleled fighter.”