Mandela Is Suffering From a Lung Infection

It was the first indication of Mandela’s medical condition since he was flown to Pretoria and taken to the hospital for unspecified tests over the weekend. It was his second hospitalisation this year; in February he was checked into a hospital for tests to address a chronic stomach complaint, the government said at the time.

The former president, who is 94 and increasingly frail, was said by Zuma’s office to be “receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment.”

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, retired from public life some years ago, and was last seen publicly at the celebrations for the World Cup soccer tournament in 2010, although he receives frequent visits from old friends and visiting dignitaries.

In January 2011, he was hospitalised for an acute respiratory infection, and the news of that illness set off a panic about his health.

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited South Africa in August, she stopped by his home in the rural Eastern Cape village of Qunu to see him. In a photograph of the two of them Mandela beamed his trademark grin, but looked frail seated in an armchair and dressed in a gray cardigan.

Concern about his current ailment had deepened on Monday when his wife, Graça Machel, said in a television appearance that it pained her to see him aging.

“I mean, this spirit and this sparkle, you see that somehow it’s fading,” she said.

“To see him aging, it’s also something which pains you,” she said, “You understand and you know it has to happen.” New York Times