South Africa’s ailing former President Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after spending almost three weeks being treated for a lung infection, the presidency said.
“He will undergo home-based high care at his Houghton (Johannesburg) home until he fully recovers,” said a statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office.
94-year-old Mandela yesterday spent his first Christmas in hospital, since being released from prison in 1990.
However, President Zuma and Mandela’s relations made up for what would have been a lonely Christmas by visiting him in the Pretoria Hospital.
It was the first time since his release from Robben Island in 1990 that he would spend Christmas away from home and family.
Afterwards Zuma said Mandela was in “good spirits”.
“He was happy to have visitors on this special day and is looking much better. The doctors are happy with the progress that he is making,” said Zuma, who joined Mandela’s wife Graca Machel and the family on the visit to his Pretoria hospital.
“We found him in good spirits,” said Zuma in a statement.
Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on December 8 after going down with a recurrent lung infection he has been receiving treatments for. He even had surgery to remove gallstones.
In several statements, President Jacob Zuma said his predecessor “continues to respond to treatment”.
“Knowledge of the love and support of his people keeps him strong,” Zuma said.
“We urge all South Africans to keep Tata (father) uppermost in their thoughts at every place of worship or entertainment tomorrow on Christmas Day, and throughout the festive season.
“We also humbly invite all freedom loving people around the world to pray for him. He is an ardent fighter and will recover from this episode with all our support,” Zuma said.