Nelson Mandela's Condition Seems To Be Improving

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Public expressions of concern are on full display as South Africans monitor the hospitalization of anti-apartheid hero and former president Nelson Mandela. The 94 year old is being treated for pneumonia.


People around the world said prayers on Easter Sunday for former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela. He's in a hospital in the South African capital being treated again for pneumonia. As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Johannesburg, doctors say Mandela's condition is improving.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: The giant headline in one South African newspaper says it all: From rural Qunu - Nelson Mandela's country homestead - to the White House, the world prays for Madiba. Fondly known by his clan name, Madiba, Nelson Mandela's health bulletins are being closely followed with compassion by South Africans.


QUIST-ARCTON: At Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, once a hub of anti-apartheid activity during the struggle for liberation, Easter Day worshippers were praying for their former president and said he must keep fighting.

MARIA TITUNZI: My name is Maria Titunzi. Oh, Father Madiba who's our savior, oh, we feel bad because we take you as a father to us and we are so worried when he's sick. We wish him well, please.

QUIST-ARCTON: Mandela's doctors report a further improvement in his recovery from pneumonia after weekend revelations that excess fluid was drained from his lungs. Frail 94-year-old Mandela suffered from tuberculosis during his long years as a political prisoner. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj gave this update last evening.

MAC MAHARAJ: The government is satisfied that the doctors are providing the former president with the best medical care possible to enable his recovery and comfort.

QUIST-ARCTON: Nobel peace laureate and the nation's moral conscience, Mandela's pivotal role as an anti-apartheid giant can never be underestimated. South Africans will never forget that he led a peaceful transition out of apartheid and forgave the oppressors. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Johannesburg.


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