South African President Zuma Visits Mandela in Hospital

Posted December 25th, 2012 at 8:25 am (UTC-5)
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South African President Jacob Zuma says former leader Nelson Mandela is “looking much better,” after more than two weeks in a Pretoria hospital.

Mr. Zuma commented on Tuesday, after a Christmas visit with the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon. President Zuma said Mr. Mandela was happy to have visitors and was in “good spirts”. He added that doctors are pleased with his progress.

Meanwhile, several hundred worshippers turned out on Tuesday for a Christmas mass for Mr. Mandela, who is recovering from a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones.

The worshippers in Soweto township sang songs in the former president's honor and wished him a speedy recovery.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on December 8. He underwent surgery to remove gallstones, a few days after doctors treated a lung problem.

Mr. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in prison for his opposition to apartheid.

He has grown frail and has made few public appearances in recent years.