JOHANNESBURG (December 15, 20120—Former South African President Nelson Mandela, 94, underwent successful surgery Saturday to remove gallstones, South Africa’s presidency said Saturday.
The presidency said Mandela's doctors wanted to treat a recurrent lung infection before the surgery.
"The procedure was successful and Madiba is recovering,” the statement said.
It referred to Mandela by his clan name as a sign of affection.
Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8.
Mandela is revered for leading the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa.
He served one five-year term as president before retiring from public life.