Mandela Enters Clinic, Dispels Rumors

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- President Nelson Mandela has checked into a Johannesburg clinic for three days of tests that he insisted would confirm his optimistic self-diagnosis.


"I am my best doctor, and the feeling of well-being in me is very strong," the 77-year-old president told reporters after entering Park Lane Clinic on Tuesday.


The president and his staff, aware that many observers link stability in South Africa to Mandela's continued leadership, have portrayed the hospital stay as a chance to dispel rumors he is ill.


At the same time, Mandela's schedule has been curtailed, and he told a brief news conference later Tuesday that more steps were being taken to reduce the demands on his time and energy.


A state visit this week by Namibian President Sam Nujoma has been postponed, as has a trip to Angola for next week.Asked about speculation that he might step down, Mandela insisted he intended to serve out his five-year term, which ends in 1999.