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Hospitalized Mandela in good spirits

JOHANNESBURG — After a second night in a hospital being treated for a recurrent lung infection, Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, was in good spirits on Friday and making steady progress, according to the office of President Jacob Zuma, who had earlier urged his compatriots not to panic.

But the statement gave no clue about when Mandela, 94, might be discharged. He was admitted to the hospital Wednesday for the third time in four months. The episode has rekindled worries about his frailty.

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In its latest statement, Zuma’s office said: ‘‘The presidency wishes to advise that former President Nelson Mandela is in good spirits and enjoyed a full breakfast this morning, 29 March 2013. The doctors report that he is making steady progress. ’’

The bulletin, which did not explain the details of Mandela’s condition, came hours after Zuma seemed to be seeking to steady public opinion.

As South Africa’s first black president , Mandela is seen as a living embodiment of the long struggle against apartheid.

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