According to the South African government, 95 year old Nelson Mandela is responding well to treatment, but is still in critical condition. He is unable to speak due to tubes that are inserted into his throat to clear his lungs, but he is able to make facial expressions to communicate. Mandela was discharged from a hospital in early September and is currently being treated by doctors at his home in Houghton, a suburb of Johannesburg.
Mandela has been fighting a lung infection since June, when he was first hospitalized. He has suffered from reoccurring lung infections and problems since he was imprisoned at Robben Island. Little is known about his current condition other than its is improving. The South African government is trying to protect Mandela's privacy and refuses to give too many detail regarding his illness.
Mandela's family says that he is in good spirits and is visited often. His grandson Mandla Mandela visited his grandfather recently and said,
"He is still progressing steadily but very much under a critical condition." His former wife said that he is very sensitive to germs and that they are careful to keep everything sterile so he can recover faster.
Mandela is known as the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. He spent 27 years in apartheid jails before becoming South Africa's first black leader. Now at the age of 95, his health is deteriorating and he has battled several illnesses and had a lengthy stay in the hospital over the last year. Mandela's family, doctors and the South African government seem confident that he will recover from his illness in the near future and hopefully avoid another hospital stay.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.