Friday, January 28, 2011

Former South African President Nelson Mandela Released From Hospital

Nelson Mandela's release from hospital eases national alarm

South African elder statesman's treatment for respiratory infection had led to frenzied speculation about his health

David Smith in Johannesburg,
Friday 28 January 2011 11.55 GMT

Nelson Mandela has returned home from hospital after treatment for an acute respiratory infection.

South African officials moved to quell 48 hours of growing alarm over the condition of the frail 92-year-old. Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president, said Mandela was in high spirits and had been joking with him this morning.

Motlanthe recalled that Mandela had joked "I won't detain you any longer" as the deputy president headed for a press conference.

"What I convey is that he is receiving the best treatment from the best available health professionals in this country. That should reassure all of us that there is no need for us to panic, there is no need for us to fear for Madiba's health. He's in good hands," Motlanthe said.

Mandela was admitted to Milpark hospital on Wednesday. A lack of detailed information led to a frenzy of media speculation. Journalists have been camped outside the hospital and his home. Motlanthe admitted that the government "could have communicated better" with the anxious public.

South Africa's first black president has now returned to his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton.

South Africa's surgeon general, VJ Ramlakan, told reporters: "He recently developed an acute respiratory infection for which he received treatment and has responded very well. He is stable but will be monitored closely.

"He is not receiving any kind of assisted ventilation or anything like that. He's going home and is subject to intense monitoring.

"Dr Mandela is in high spirits and has been visited by his family and friends. Medically at present there is no need to panic.

"For a 92-year-old he surprises us on a daily basis with his powers of recovery."

Mandela's grandson, Mandla, said the family was delighted he was going home. "There was a lot of anxiety in the family to be with him," he said. "We always give him that support to be with him as a family and have always over the years enjoyed his sense of humour. The older he gets, he continues to display that sense of humour. As a family we've always enjoyed having my grandfather with us. It comes to us today with great joy hearing that he's been discharged."

It was revealed that Mandela had received more than 10,000 messages of goodwill from around the world.

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