Former South African president Nelson Mandela is reportedly in stable condition Saturday after undergoing surgery for an abdominal complaint. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told South African private news channel eNews that the 93-year-old former statesman is “in good spirits and well.”
As the country’s first black president after a history of white minority rule, the BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says Mr Mandela occupies a special place in the hearts of South Africans. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is affectionately known in South Africa by his clan name, Madiba. He spent 27 years in prison for his fight against white minority rule before being released in 1990. In 1994, he became South Africa’s first black president, stepping down in 1999 after one term.