*Former South African President Nelson Mandela was hospitalized Thursday in Johannesburg for what his office said were routine tests. However, the 92-year-old anti-apartheid icon’s overnight stay drew extraordinary media attention.
Reports say Mandela undergoes regular hospital checkups, but his latest visit starting Wednesday stretched into an unusually long stay. Journalists camped outside the hospital Thursday, watching Mandela’s relatives and friends enter for visits.
Current South African President Jacob Zuma’s office cautioned reporters not to put pressure on Mandela’s doctors, and to give him “the respect that he is entitled to.”
“President Mandela is comfortable and is well looked after by a good team of medical specialists,” said a statement from Zuma’s office, adding Zuma was being updated on Mandela while at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
The Presidency called for “calm and restraint” and said:
“We urge the media to afford him the dignity and respect that he is entitled to as the country’s founding democratic President, as a national hero and also as a citizen of the Republic.”