Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool, File, Associated Press
BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa — South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday honored anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who has been hospitalized since the weekend and who the president said is recovering from a lung infection.
Zuma was to unveil a statue of Mandela Thursday in the city of Bloemfontein, also called Mangaung, which next week hosts the ruling African National Congress party's convention.
"We will be able to yet again pay tribute to a man who became a symbol of both our struggle for freedom and the free and democratic South Africa," Zuma said.
Mandela, 94, was admitted on Saturday to 1 Military Hospital in the capital.
"As we meet, Madiba is recuperating from a lung infection at a Pretoria hospital," Zuma said, using Mandela's clan name. "We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him yet again of the love and support of many in the country and abroad."
Zuma made the remarks while dedicating an airport in the name of Bram Fischer, a white South African who was also a key figure in the struggle against apartheid, the system of racist white rule which collapsed in the 1994 elections which made Mandela the nation's first black president. Fischer was a Communist Party leader and a lawyer who defended Mandela at trial.
Mandela has a history of lung problems. He fell ill with tuberculosis in 1988 when he was still in prison. He largely retired from public life after serving one five-year term as president.
Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Johannesburg contributed to this report.
- Tad Walch: The LDS Church's call for balance...
- Former GOP nominee Romney will not run for...
- List: 10 Super Bowl ads you'll be talking about
- Top Catholics and evangelicals: Gay marriage...
- After 150 years, Confederate submarine's hull...
- The Force is strong with this one: Panel with...
- First lady defends 'American Sniper' at...
- Worker who saw victim's body testifies at...
- Former GOP nominee Romney will not run... 74
- Top Catholics and evangelicals: Gay... 54
- Mitt Romney courts middle class, jabs... 40
- Victim of sexual abuse sues Boy Scouts... 21
- Tad Walch: The LDS Church's call for... 19
- Attorney General nominee picks up... 14
- Denver police shoot, kill teen who... 13
- House GOP moves toward possible lawsuit... 11