Nelson Mandela is ‘breathing on his own’ and is conscious in a Johannesburg, hospital. His condition is currently described as ‘serious but stable’.
Mandela has had a recurring lung condition after contracting tuberculosis in prison.
This is the third time Mandela has been taken to hospital since December.
But Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj remains optimistic.
“He is a fighter, he has recovered many times from very serious conditions, and he will be with us, let us just keep him in our thoughts, let’s pray for him, help him to get better,” he said.
It is the use of the word ‘serious’ which is causing concern.
At his house in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton neighbours are trying to put a brave face on the latest developments.
Willie Mokoena, a local gardener says Mandela will live:
“Yes, he is going to survive. Still will be loved. He’s a strong man, very very strong. That’s all”.
Martha Mawela, who is a nanny, says everyone wants him to survive:
“Because everybody wish so ‘cause he’s a big man, because everybody loves Mandela, so I think he is going to live long and I think Mandela is religious and he is always praying”.
Following historic all-race elections in 1994 in South Africa, he served one term as President then withdrew from politics.
His last public appearance was in 2010 at the World Cup final in Johannesburg.