Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital but 'not yet fully recovered'

Anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela is doing well after being sent home from hospital, but is "not yet fully recovered", a government spokesperson has said.

"He has sufficiently moved forward so that he can be sent home," Mac Maharaj told a local broadcaster. "He is sufficiently well to be home."

The former South African president was in hospital for three weeks before he was sent home on Wednesday. The 94-year-old received treatment for a lung infection during his stay and had surgery to remove gallstones. He is now receiving care at his home in Johannesburg.


"We thank the public and the media for the good wishes and for according Madiba and the family the necessary privacy," said Mr Maharaj in a statement, using Mr Mandela's clan name as a term of affection. He went on to request that the elder statesman's privacy continue to be respected "in order to allow for the best possible conditions for full recovery".

The current President Jacob Zuma visited Mr Mandela on Christmas Day and said he was doing much better, making progress and in good spirits. the former South African leader was admitted to hospital on Decemeber 8 and this was his longest stay in a facility since he was released from jail in 1990.

The anti-apartheid icon's frail health has been a cause of anxiety amongst South African people. The "father of the nation" has experienced a series of health problems in the past two years, undergoing an abdominal operation as well as receiving treatment for another lung infection.

Mr Mandela has a history of lung problems which began when he contracted tuberculosis while he was in prison as a political prisoner.

Regarded as one of the most-loved and significant leaders of the 20th century, Mr Mandela's health is a global concern. Making an impressive biography, the freedom fighter - who is revered around the world as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation - has dedicated fifty years of his life to fighting against apartheid.

Convicted for conspiring to overthrow the government, the campaigner spent 27 years in prison, including 18 years on the windswept Robben Island off Cape Town. Echoing the sentiments of his trial speech, the campaigner refused to compromise "an ideal I would die for", and continued to fight for racial equality behind bars.

He was released from prison in 1990, when the death knell of the apartheid sounded its last. Honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, the activist has worked in politics and charity ever since. Becoming the first black President of South Africa in 1994, the campaigner has since been involved in a series of charitable causes, and withdrew from public life to live near his hometown of Qunu in 2004.