1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Mandela leaves hospital

Isaac Mugabi (Reuters, AP, dpa)September 2, 2013

Former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela returned to his home on Sunday where he will continue to receive intensive care after three months in hospital with a lung ailment.

Former South african President Nelson Mandela at his country home in Qunu
Image: Barbara Kinney/Clinton Foundation/Getty Images

Mandela, 95, had spent 87 days in a Pretoria hospital after he was rushed there in early June suffering from a recurring infection of the lungs, a legacy of the nearly three decades he spent in jail under apartheid.

A statement released by the presidency said, "Madiba's condition remains critical and is at times unstable.” Madiba is the clan name that he is affectionately known.

His home in Johannesburg's Houghton suburb had been reconfigured" to allow him to receive special care there, the presidency added.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate's latest hospitalization in June had attracted a wave of attention and sympathy at home and across the world.

Messages of hope left at the hospital wall
People from all walks of life left get well messages for MandelaImage: DW

Thousands of well-wishers had visited the Pretoria medical facility during his stay there to leave flowers, cards and gifts.

South Africans 'ecstatic'

The news of his discharge from hospital was received with joy not only in South Africa but also in other parts of the world.

The chief spokesperson for President Jacob Zuma, Mac Maharaj, said "we would like to wish him all the best as he continues his recovery at his Johannesburg home.”

Speaking to DW correspondent some South Africans were pleased that their hero is out of hospital.

“It is such a good feeling i was very happy for him and especially his family because they have been through a lot and I hope he lives to a hundred years,” said one of them.

A life of fulfillment

For more than a decade Mandela has been out of politics, dividing his time in retirement between his home in Houghton and Qunu, the village in the impoverished Eastern Cape province where the freedom fighter was born.

Robben island was home for Mandela for nearly 3 decades
Breaking rocks at Robben island left Mandela with a lung infectionImage: BY-SA/Rüdiger Wölk

His admission to hospital, four times in six months, has reminded the nation of the mortality of the father of the post-apartheid "Rainbow Nation" and the morals he stood for.

The anti-apartheid leader was elected South Africa's first black president in multi-racial elections in 1994 that ended white minority rule.

Mandela's imprisonment included 18 years on the notorious Robben Island penal colony, when he and other prisoners were forced to work in a limestone quarry. It was in this prison Mandela first suffered the lung infections that were to dog him for years.

The presidency requested that Mandela and his family be given "the necessary private space so that his continuing care can proceed with dignity and without unnecessary intrusion."

The authorities have enforced strict security around the home of Nelson Mandela and have declared that the area was now a national key point.