FATHER OF THE NATION. Mandela was jailed for almost 40 years and led the struggle against apartheid before becoming President of South Africa between 1994 and 1999. Photo from his Facebook fan page
Ailing world icon Nelson Mandela, 94, spent his 16th day and Christmas Eve in a hospital where the Nobel Laureate was recuperating from a gallstones operations and recurrent lung infection. Before his retirement in 2004, South Africa's first black president used to host a Christmas feast in his home village for impoverished children -- a highlight for many. Since retiring from public life, Christmas has been a more low-key affair, spent with family.