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South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Apartheid icon, in serious condition in hospital

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, 94, has been readmitted to hospital with a renewed lung infection.

Africa south africa nelson mandela 2012 01 09Enlarge
A new miniseries is being produced to tell the story of Nelson Mandela's life. Here, Mandela and wife Graca Machel wave to the crowds prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Clive Mason/AFP/Getty Images)

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and an anti-apartheid hero, has been readmitted to hospital with a renewed lung infection.

It is the second hospitalization in two months — and the fourth in just over six months — for Mandela, who will turn 95 in July.

President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement:

"During the past few days former president Nelson Mandela has had a recurrence of lung infection. This morning at about 1:30 a.m. his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital. He remains in a serious but stable condition."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner's history of lung problems dates back to his years in prison on Robben Island, where he contracted tuberculosis, Australia's ABC wrote.

He spent spent 27 years as a prisoner of the South African government under South Africa's last white president, F.W. de Clerk.

He then embarked on a "long walk to freedom" which saw him crowned South Africa's first black president, a role he stepped down from in 1999 after one term in office.

His last appearance in public was at the final of the soccer World Cup in Johannesburg in 2010

The BBC interviewed ordinary South Africans in the streets of Pretoria about their concerns for Mandela's recent health troubles.

Trader Mamoshomo Tswai said:

"As long as Tata [father] is still alive then poor people like me, people who are down down, single mothers like me, we still have hope. South Africa is nothing without him."

Another trader, however, gave a more philosophical response, pointing out that Mandela "is old. We love him, we all do, but we must start to accept that he is a very old man."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/130608/south-africa-nelson-mandela-apartheid-icon-lung-obituary