Ottawa Citizen

Man­dela rests at home af­ter leav­ing hospi­tal

Ex-pres­i­dent treated for lung in­fec­tion, gall stones

- CHRISTO­PHER TORCHIA

JO­HAN­NES­BURG, South Africa • The doc­tors treat­ing former South African leader Nel­son Man­dela be­lieve he should re­main in Jo­han­nes­burg for now to be close to med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties that can pro­vide care to the 94-year-old, the government said Thurs­day.

Man­dela left a hospi­tal Wed­nes­day evening af­ter nearly three weeks of treat­ment there, and was brought to his home in the Jo­han­nes­burg neigh­bour­hood of Houghton. The anti-apartheid icon, also known by his clan name, Madiba, has spent more time in re­cent years in the ru­ral vil­lage of Qunu in East­ern Cape province, where he grew up.

Man­dela’s grand­son, Mandla Man­dela, said he hopes “it won’t be too long be­fore he’s with us back in Qunu, where he be­longs,” but ac­knowl­edged that the doc­tors’ as­sess­ment is crit­i­cal to any de­ci­sion to travel.

“It can be a stren­u­ous trip,” the grand­son said in an in­ter­view with eNCA, a South African tele­vi­sion news chan­nel. “We will await the feed­back from the doc­tors as to when he will be fit and ready to come back home.”

Man­dela was ad­mit­ted Dec. 8 to a hospi­tal in the South African cap­i­tal of Pre­to­ria, 50 kilo­me­tres north of Jo­han­nes­burg. The ex-pres­i­dent was treated for a lung in­fec­tion and also had a pro­ce­dure to re­move gall­stones.

“Where Madiba goes, in which pe­riod, in which times, is a mat­ter that is en­tirely de­pen­dent on his own wishes. What­ever he wishes, we will do,” pres­i­den­tial spokesman Mac Ma­haraj told eNCA.

“But right now, the doc­tors have con­sid­ered it nec­es­sary and good that he should be in Houghton so that he’s close to all the fa­cil­i­ties where we can give him high care,” Ma­haraj said.

Ma­haraj noted that Man­dela had been in good spir­its while re­ceiv­ing Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and other vis­i­tors while he was hos­pi­tal­ized.

“Madiba was do­ing well, but as you know, when you’re re­cov­er­ing there are ups and downs, slight ups and downs, and the doc­tors are look­ing for a steady progress.”

Man­dela is revered around the world as a sym­bol of sac­ri­fice and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, his legacy forged in the fight against apartheid, the sys­tem of white mi­nor­ity rule that im­pris­oned him for 27 years. The No­bel lau­re­ate served one five-year term as pres­i­dent af­ter South Africa’s first demo­cratic elec­tions in 1994.

 ?? SIPHIWE SIBEKO/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES ?? Former South African pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal in early De­cem­ber.
SIPHIWE SIBEKO/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES Former South African pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal in early De­cem­ber.

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