UK & World News

  • 27 December 2012, 9:25

Nelson Mandela Discharged From Hospital

Former South African president Nelson Mandela will continue to receive care at his residence in Johannesburg which is equipped with medical facilities.

The 94-year-old spent 18 days in hospital being treated for a lung infection and gallstones.

"We thank the public and the media for the good wishes and for affording Madiba and the family the necessary privacy," said Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for President Jacob Zuma, referring to Mr Mandela by his clan name.

"We request a continuation of the privacy consideration in order to allow for the best possible conditions for full recovery."

Mr Mandela was flown to a hospital in Pretoria from his family home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on December 8 for treatment for a lung infection.

He subsequently underwent an operation to remove gallstones. 

He spent Christmas Day with his wife and members of his family who visited his hospital bedside.

Mr Zuma was also among visitors on Tuesday and declared the former leader to be in "high spirits".

There have been prayers and vigils across South Africa for his speedy recovery. 

It is Mr Mandela's longest stay in hospital since he was released from prison more than two decades ago after 27 years in detention.

He is revered in South Africa and around the world as the icon of the anti-apartheid struggle and the nation's first black president. 

Mr Mandela retired from public life several years ago although he still receives high-profile visitors, usually in private. 

The Nobel Peace laureate is known to be increasingly frail and has suffered from recurring lung problems as a result of contracting tuberculosis during his time in prison.

Earlier this year he was admitted to hospital with abdominal pain. 

He inspires genuine affection and admiration among South Africans and his ailing health is a source of much concern.