The world breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when world icon Nelson Mandela was released from the hospital, having recovered enough from the lung infection and gallstone surgery to move to his residence in Johannesburg, after spending 18 days in the hospital.
Mandela will now be receiving “home-based high care” in Houghton, a Johannesburg neighborhood where he has a home, according to presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.
“We thank the public and the media for the good wishes and for according Madiba and the family the necessary privacy,” said Maharaj in a statement, using Mandela’s clan name, a term of affection. The statement requested that Mandela’s privacy continue to be respected “in order to allow for the best possible conditions for full recovery.”
South African President Jacob Zuma joined Mandela at his bedside on Christmas at the Pretoria hospital where he was staying, joined by Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, and other family members.
Zuma said Mandela was in “good spirits.”
“I think he is an icon of hope and we are very excited” that Mandela is out of the hospital, Sipho Sibiko, a Soweto resident, told the Associated press. “I personally know that he is one of the people that inspired me. He inspires a lot of people and we are excited that he has been released. We wish him many more joyous years and good health.”
As for Mandela’s health in the past, he had tuberculosis during his years in prison and had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985. In 2001, Mandela underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, ultimately beating the disease. In February, Mandela spent a night in a hospital for a minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint.
Mandela served as President of South Africa from May 1994 until June 1999, stunning the world by skillfully transitioning the nation out of minority apartheid rule. Since the end of his presidency, Mandela has become one of the most esteemed leaders in the world, in a sense almost a global president. Whenever he has had health issues, the entire world has held its breath until receiving word of his recovery.