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Mandela to remain in hospital over Christmas

In this Dec. 11, 2012 file photo, a woman walks past a mural depicting portraits of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa. The chipped street mural depicts stations in the life of Mr. Mandela each matched by a portrait of the global icon as he advanced from robust youth to old age.

Themba Hadebe/AP

Former South African President Nelson Mandela continues to respond to treatment more than two weeks after being taken to hospital in Pretoria and will remain there for Christmas Day, the presidency said on Monday.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero and Nobel Peace laureate has been treated for a lung infection and gallstones after being hospitalized on Dec. 8.

President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that Mr. Mandela "will recover from this episode with all our support... We also humbly invite all freedom loving people around the world to pray for him."

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It will be the first Christmas that Mr. Mandela has spent away from home since 1989, when he was still in prison. He was jailed for almost three decades for his role in the struggle against white minority rule.

He was released in 1990 and went on to use his prestige to push for reconciliation between whites and blacks as the bedrock of the post-apartheid "Rainbow Nation".

Mr. Mandela was elected South Africa's first black president in 1994. He stepped down five years later after one term in office and has been largely removed from public life for the last decade.

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