South Africa hospital discharges former president Nelson Mandela

Friday, December 28, 2012

The South African government has reported that former President Nelson Mandela has been discharged from a hospital in Pretoria, where he was hospitalised December 8. Mandela received hospital treatment for gallstones and a lung infection. Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Mandela "will undergo home-based high care at his Houghton home until he recovers fully".

File photo of Nelson Mandela in 1998

Mandela was hospitalised for eighteen days, his longest hospitalisation since 1990, when he was released from prison after 27 years.

Current president Jacob Zuma visited Mandela in hospital this past weekend. Zuma visited Mandela again on Christmas, as did Graca Machel, Mandela's wife.

Mandela has been hospitalised three times since the start of last year. In January 2011, Mandela received hospital treatment for an acute respiratory infection.

Mandela, aged 94, has a history of health problems. Work at a Robben Island limestone quarry, where he was imprisoned for sixteen years during South Africa's Apartheid, damaged his eyes and lungs. During the 1980s, while still a prisoner on Robben Island, he developed tuberculosis.

Maharaj, once a political prisoner alongside Mandela during Apartheid, expressed thanks for public and media support and allowing Mandela privacy. On behalf of the government, Maharaj also asked for a "continuation of the privacy in order to allow for the best possible conditions for full recovery".