Mandela in good spirits: Jacob Zuma

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 05:47 hrs

London: Nelson Mandela is in good spirits and doctors are happy with his progress, according to South African President Jacob Zuma, who visited the former leader in hospital.

Zuma said in a statement that Mandela, 94, was happy to have visitors on Christmas Day.

Mandela was admitted to hospital in the South African capital, Pretoria, two weeks ago and has been treated for a lung infection and gallstones, reports the BBC.

Mandela spent 27 years in jail for fighting against the apartheid regime. He served as South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1999 and is regarded by many as the father of the nation.

His health has been a cause of concern for many years. He first contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while detained in Robben Island prison. He has been admitted to hospital on three occasions in the past two years.

Mandela lives in Qunu, a small rural village in Eastern Cape province, where he says he spent the happiest days of his childhood. He retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen in public since.

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