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Mandela ‘doing great’ says family, denies he was ‘sent home to die’

The former South African president was released from hospital earlier this week following a three week stay where he was treated for a lung infection and gallstones.

Nelson Mandela (File photo)
Nelson Mandela (File photo)
Image: Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

NELSON MANDELA IS “doing great” and is enjoying time at home with his family after being discharged from hospital, his daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini told AFP today.

Mandela left hospital on Wednesday, after nearly three weeks of in-patient treatment for a recurrent lung infection and surgery to have gallstones removed.

The 94-year-old is now convalescing at his Johannesburg home, where he received visits from friends, family and a handful of well-wishers delivering flowers and other gifts.

“Madiba is doing great and he is enjoying his family,” Mandela-Dlamini told AFP via text message.

Mandela-Dlamini is the eldest daughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She was due to begin an ambassadorship in Argentina this year, but her arrival was delayed by her father’s illness.

The revered former statesman was flown to a Pretoria hospital on 8 December 8 from his rural ancestral home in Qunu.

Since then family members have asked for their privacy to be respected. On Friday they called for an end to speculation that he has been sent home to die.

‘Insensitive’

“That is absolutely not true. My grandfather is well,” grand-daughter Zaziwe Manaway told CNN on Friday.

“It can be very, very hurtful for us to hear these messages out there in the social media that our grandfather is going to go home to die. It is insensitive.”

“My grandfather still wakes up in the morning (and) reads the newspaper, so is also aware of what is being said around him.”

The government has provided little information about his health, leading to speculation about the status of the global icon.

On Wednesday the presidency announced that Mandela had made “sufficient progress to be discharged.”

“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 they can give him high care,” presidential spokesman and former Mandela prison mate Mac Maharaj said Thursday.

Mandela became an international hero after spending 27 years behind bars for his belief in democracy.

He garnered further admiration through his willingness to extend the hand of peace to his white captors and is widely credited with stopping a bloodbath when minority rule was overthrown and the first multi-party elections were held in 1994.

Once a spry boxer who stayed fit during his long years behind bars by doing calisthenics in his cell, he has grown increasingly frail in recent years, and he exited public life in 2004.

- AFP, 2012

Read: Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital in South Africa

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