Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who led the struggle against apartheid, spent his first night at his home after nearly three months in the hospital battling a lung infection.
Mandela, 95, was yesterday moved to his Johannesburg home, which has been adapted to provide him the care that he had been receiving at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria. Mac Maharaj, the spokesman for President Jacob Zuma, declined to comment on his condition today and referred Bloomberg to a statement issued yesterday.
“Madiba’s condition remains critical and is at times unstable,” the South African presidency said in a statement on its website, referring to Mandela by his clan name. “If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done.”
Mandela had been hospitalized since June 8 with a recurring lung infection and doctors downgraded his condition to critical on June 23. Mandela, who was jailed from 1964 to 1990 for opposing white-minority rule, served as president of Africa’s biggest economy after his African National Congress swept to victory in the first multi-racial elections. He earned global praise for urging reconciliation, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Television crews set up cameras outside Mandela’s home in the suburb of Houghton as police patrolled the streets near the former leader’s property. One white South African Military Health Service vehicle was parked outside the entrance.
People wrote messages on stones that were painted the colors of the South African flag and piled them on the grass next to his home’s outside wall. One green stone read “get well!” from the Platts family of Dallas, Texas.
“It’s good that he’s home,” said Moffat Lungu, a 34-year-old from Malawi who works as a security guard about 50 meters from Mandela’s house. “Mandela is our grandfather, so it’s better that he’s back home.”