JOHANNESBURG — Anti-apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela returned to his Johannesburg home on Sunday where he will continue to receive intensive treatment and care after spending three months in hospital with a lung ailment.
Mandela, 95, had spent 87 days in a Pretoria hospital after he was rushed there in early June suffering from a recurring infection in the lungs — a legacy from his time in jail under apartheid — that has dogged him for years.
"Madiba's condition remains critical and is at times unstable. Nevertheless, his team of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received in Pretoria," South Africa's presidency said in a statement. It referred to Mandela by the traditional clan name by which he is affectionately known.
His latest hospitalization in June had attracted a wave of attention and sympathy at home and across the world for the revered statesman, who is admired as a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.
The presidency said that during his three-month stay in hospital the condition of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate "vacillated between serious to critical and at times unstable."
His home in Johannesburg's Houghton suburb had been "reconfigured" to allow him to receive special care there, the presidency added. Police blocked off a section of the street in the upscale neighborhood, 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.
Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital on July 18, showered with tributes from around the world. Thousands of well-wishers had visited the Pretoria medical facility during his stay there to leave flowers, cards and gifts.
The anti-apartheid leader spent nearly three decades in prison before being released and was elected South Africa's first black president in multi-racial elections in 1994 that ended white minority rule.
Mandela's 27 years in prison under apartheid included 18 years on the notorious Robben Island penal colony. His lung infection dates back to this time, when he and other prisoners were forced to work in a limestone quarry.
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."
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