Waiting in hospital (illustrative)
Waiting in hospital (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90 / archive

Former South African president Nelson Mandela has spent a second night in the hospital listed in serious condition with a lung infection, according to a statement by officials.

Mandela, age 94, had been ill for several days, but was taken to the hospital on Saturday for urgent care.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Cape Town by Ben Gurion University of the Negev in 1997, and first visited Israel in 1999.

The Nobel laureate has been hospitalized for the same condition a number of times over the past year; in April he was hospitalized as well.

A human rights activist, Mandela spent 27 years in a South African prison on Robben Island fighting apartheid for resisting white minority rule. He eventually emerged to become the nation’s first black president in 1994, serving a single term in office.

The lung infection that has returned him to the hospital dates back to his prison days.

South African President Jacob Zuma wished “Madiba” – Mandela’s clan name – a speedy recovery on behalf of the government and the nation. Zuma also asked the public and the media to respect the privacy of the former president and his family.