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S. African Doctors Advise Surgery for Mandela

September 12, 1985|MICHAEL PARKS | Times Staff Writer

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned leader of the African National Congress, has been told by doctors that his prostate gland is enlarged and should be removed, his wife, Winnie, said here Wednesday after visiting him.

Mandela, 67, was also advised by government physicians that he needs surgery for cysts on his liver and right kidney. However, he wants his own doctors to conduct further examinations and tests before deciding whether to proceed with the operation.

"Actually, he looked very well, and he was very happy to see us," Winnie Mandela said later. "It was the first time in 24 years--imagine, 24 years--that we were together as a family."

She and their daughters, Zinzi, 23, and Zenani, 26, spent 80 minutes with Mandela at Pollsmoor Prison in a Cape Town suburb after getting special government permission for an emergency visit as a whole family. In the past, they have been allowed only individual visits.

Their conversation, monitored by two prison officials, was restricted to family matters and political topics were prohibited.

Examined Several Times

Mandela had been examined several times by government doctors since blood was discovered in his urine in March, his wife said. Last Thursday, he underwent further X-rays and a cystoscopy, which examined the interior of his bladder.

Jailed in 1961 and serving a life sentence for sabotage, Mandela is regarded by most South African blacks as their foremost leader, and his freedom has become a basic demand during the sustained unrest of the last year.

President Pieter W. Botha offered at the end of January to free him on condition that he renounce the use of violence in the struggle against South Africa's apartheid system of racial separation and minority white rule. But Mandela refused to accept Botha's terms, saying that only free men could negotiate.

Since Mandela's illness was disclosed last week, speculation has grown that the government might use his age and the state of his health as a rationale for releasing him on some kind of parole.

The right wing here has warned, however, that he might well return immediately to directing the African National Congress' guerrilla war against the regime and that there would then be an even greater outcry if he were rearrested.

"The entire world recognizes my father's integrity, honesty and moral principles," daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini said in a statement on behalf of the family. Although he still hopes to be released unconditionally from prison and hopes that medical treatment can cure him, Mandela remains "prepared to die for his ideal of a democratic and free society," she said.

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