Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 23:25 PM EDT, 25 February 2012
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Nelson Mandela, the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former South African President has been hospitalized. The 93-year old is undergoing test to identify the cause of an undisclosed stomach ailment.
In a statement, President Jacob Zuma said that Mandela isn’t in any immediate danger, but asked that the press respect his privacy. Mandela has “had was had a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention.”
Mandela became South Africa’s first president of color to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Then President F. W. de Klerk bowed to international pressure and freed the anti-apartheid leader on 11 February 1990 after he had served 27 years of a life sentence.
Mandela subsequently led his party, Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC) in the first multi-party negotiations that resulted in the country’s first multi-racial elections. South Africans duly elected Mandela as president, a position which he held from 1994 to 1999.
Mandela continues to be active in numerous causes including the eradication of AIDS, the disease to which his son succumbed in 2005. He is also one of the founding members of a group of world leaders known as, The Elders. This group is comprised of prominent people of diverse backgrounds and heritage who are dedicated to addressing humanitarian issues from around the world.
The current Chairman of The Elders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 80, is another prominent South African and Noble Laureate. We recently wrote about his visit to India with other Elders to spearhead a global movement called “Girls Not Brides” which is aimed at ending child marriages.
By contrast, Mandela’s public appearances have become increasingly rare which may be a consequence of his health issues. According to the Associated Press, he was last publicly seen at the closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup, and met privately with First Lady Michelle Obama when she traveled to South Africa in 2011.
Mandela underwent some “planned, diagnostic tests” and is expected to be released from hospital on Sunday or Monday. Though the results of the tests were not released to the public, the doctors believe that the abdominal distress is consistent with someone of Mandela’s age.” In an effort to calm the public Zuma concluded by saying, “We are happy that he is not in any danger.”
- Nelson Mandela Hospitalized With Stomach Ailment (theroot.com)
- Nelson Mandela is ‘fine’ after operation (thesun.co.uk)
- Nelson Mandela, 93, hospitalized with stomach ailment (abclocal.go.com)
- Nelson Mandela, 93-year-old South African icon, hospitalized with stomach ailment (nj.com)
- Nelson Mandela Hospitalized, But No Need to Panic [Nelson Mandela] (gawker.com)
- Nelson Mandela hospitalized (thehindu.com)