No sign for Mandela to be discharged from hospital

2012-12-26 17:19:26 GMT2012-12-27 01:19:26(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CAPE TOWN, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Almost three weeks in a Pretoria hospital, South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela remains there with no sign of discharge any time soon.

Mandela "remains as he was yesterday," said Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj on Wednesday.

Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8 for a lung infection and gallstones. He underwent a successful surgery to have the gallstones removed after doctors attended to his lung infection.

This is Mandela's longest hospital stay since 2001, when he underwent seven weeks of radiotherapy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The anti-apartheid hero spent Christmas Day with his wife Graca and other family members along with President Jacob Zuma.

Mandela "looks much better" and "is in good spirits," Zuma said after visiting Mandela in hospital, adding that the doctors were happy with Mandela's health progress.

However, the doctors did not disclose when Mandela could be discharged from the hospital.

The whole country has been praying for Mandela's speedy recovery. On Christmas Eve, members of the Congress of the People, a political party formed in 2008, held a night vigil at the Pretoria hospital to pray for Mandela.

The hospital's staff and patients were among those who joined the vigil, said councillor Preddy Mothopeng.

"We prayed, sang both Christmas and revolutionary songs with candles, while we wished him and others (patients) a speedy recovery, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year," said Mothopeng.

Mandela served as South African president from 1994 to 1999. He had spent 27 years in prison before elected the first black president in the country after the end of apartheid.

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