Mandela’s family finds growing crowds outside the hospital intrusive, but his legacy speaks differently.
Anti-apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela returned to his home on Sunday where he will continue to receive intensive care after three months in hospital with a lung ailment.
“Madiba’s condition remains critical and is at times unstable,” the South African president’s office said on Sunday, referring to the 95-year-old Mandela by his clan name.
“His team of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton [in Johannesburg] home that he received in Pretoria,” the statement said.
This comes after a weekend statement by a family member that he had been discharged was denied by Mac Maharaj, the presidential spokesperson.
Mandela had been receiving medical treatment in a Pretoria hospital since June 8.
It is a day of celebration for us that he is finally back home with us.
Al Jazeera’s Tania Page, reporting from Johannesburg, said there are hopes that there will be some sort of recovery.
“This is a very gravely ill man, but [the presidency] has gone to great pains to explain that he will be receiving full medical support at his home,” she said.
She said the president’s office had avoided getting into details out of respect for Mandela and his family.
His home in Johannesburg’s Houghton suburb had been “reconfigured” to allow him to receive special care there, the presidency said. Police blocked off a section of the street in the upscale neighbourhood, where a crowd of reporters and camera crews had gathered.
“The health care personnel providing care at his home are the very same who provided care to him in hospital. If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done,” the presidency added.
“It is a day of celebration for us that he is finally back home with us,” Mandela’s grandson and heir Mandla said in a statement, acknowledging that he was “not a young man anymore”.
Mandla said his grandfather’s discharge from hospital disproved claims that Mandela was in a “vegetative” state “waiting for his (life) support machines to be switched off, in effect declaring him dead”.
Mandela made his last public appearance waving to fans from the back of a golf cart before the Soccer World Cup final in Johannesburg in 2010. In April state broadcaster aired a clip of the thin and frail statesman being visited by President Jacob Zuma and top officials from the African National Congress.
Thousands of well-wishers had visited the Pretoria medical facility during his stay there to leave flowers, cards and gifts.
The presidency requested that Mandela and his family be given “the necessary private space so that his continuing care can proceed with dignity and without unnecessary intrusion.”