Nelson Mandela, the 94-year-old former South African
president and Nobel Peace laureate hospitalised with a lung
infection, has successfully undergone a procedure to have
gallstones removed, the government said.
"The former president underwent a procedure via endoscopy to
have gallstones removed. The procedure was successful and
Madiba is recovering," President Jacob Zuma's office said in
a statement, using Mandela's clan name.
South Africa's first black president, who came to power in
historic all-race elections in 1994 after decades struggling
against apartheid, remains a symbol of resistance to racism
and injustice at home and around the world.
Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on Saturday a
week ago after being flown from his home village of Qunu in a
remote, rural part of the Eastern Cape province.
Tests revealed a recurrence of a lung infection and that he
had developed gallstones, the government statement said.
The medical team had decided to treat the lung infection
before attending to the gallstones, it said.
Mandela spent 27 years in apartheid prisons, including 18
years on the windswept Robben Island off the coast of Cape
He was released in 1990 and went on to use his unparalleled
prestige to push for reconciliation between whites and blacks
as the bedrock of the post-apartheid "Rainbow Nation".
He stepped down in 1999 after one term in office and has been
largely removed from public life for the last decade.
Mandela spent time in a Johannesburg hospital in 2011 with a
respiratory condition, and again in February this year
because of abdominal pains. He was released the following day
after a keyhole examination showed there was nothing serious.
He has since spent most of his time in Qunu.
His fragile health prevents him from making any public
appearances in South Africa, although he has continued to
receive high-profile domestic and international visitors,
including former U.S. President Bill Clinton in July.