Mandela spends night at home after long hospital stay
By Sibongile Khumalo, AFPJOHANNESBURG -- Nelson Mandela spent a first night back home after being discharged from hospital Sunday, but the South African government said the anti-apartheid hero remains critically ill and under intensive care.
September 3, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The former president had been in a Pretoria hospital for almost three months, spending his 95th birthday there as he received intensive treatment for a respiratory illness.
The presidency said in a statement that he “remains critical and is at times unstable” and will be looked after by the same team of intensive care doctors at his Johannesburg home.
“If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done,” the president's office stated.
An ambulance with police escort was seen arriving at his suburban home, north of Johannesburg, shortly after 0900 GMT Sunday.
Mandela's family expressed joy at his return.
“It is a day of celebration for us that he is finally back home with us,” said grandson Mandla Mandela, thanking South Africans and people around the world for their outpouring of support.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) expressed faith in the medical team treating Mandela, saying they believe that “receiving treatment at home will afford him continuous support from his family and loved ones.”
For 86 days, South Africans have scrutinized every update about the health of their first black president, whether he was living or dying with each sign of progress or each setback.
Separated by deep racial and economic divisions, millions have united in praying for a speedy recovery of a man who for many embodies the best their nation can be.
There are still lingering concerns about the health of an elderly man who has been in and out of hospital four times in the last year.
President Jacob Zuma's office promised that the revered statesman will continue to receive top-class care and will be treated by “a large medical team from the military, academia, private sector and other public health spheres.”
A spokesman for former U.S. president George H.W. Bush apologized on Sunday after erroneously issuing a statement of condolence stating that Mandela had died.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath later explained that he circulated a prepared statement expressing Bush's sorrow at the “death” of the former South African president after misreading a Washington Post news alert about Mandela's discharge from hospital.