JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – South Africa’s presidency says Nelson Mandela has undergone successful surgery to remove gallstones.
   
The presidency said the 94-year-old Mandela underwent the surgery Saturday. The presidency said Mandela’s doctors wanted to treat a recurrent lung infection before putting him through the surgery.
   
The statement said: “The procedure was successful and Madiba is recovering.” It referred to Mandela by his clan name as a sign of affection.
   
Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8.
  
Mandela is revered for being a leader of the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa. He served one five-year term as president before retiring from public life.