South African President Jacob Zuma has asked the world to pray for the man affectionately known as Mandiba.

“We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts,” Zuma said.

“We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery.”

Mandela was hospitalised over Christmas for a lung infection and to have gallstones removed. 

He hasn’t appeared in public, in an official capacity since the football World Cup final in South Africa in 2010, six years after he retired from office.

Following his 27-year imprisonment during the Apartheid era, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was diagnosed with early stage tuberculosis.

He lives in his home village Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Image via Getty