Mandela returnes to his village ahead of 93rd birthday
South Africa's ailing former president Nelson Mandela has returned to his childhood village ahead of his 93rd birthday on Monday, the Times newspaper reported.
“Mandela arrived on a military medical aircraft at the Mthatha Airport just after 2.30pm (1230 GMT),” on Thursday, the leading South African daily said.
He was welcomed by “a motorcade consisting of traffic authority vehicles, police and VIP protection unit members and ambulances,” the paper said in a story published Friday.
Journalist were barred from taking pictures and turned away from the airport.
His trip to Qunu village comes as the world prepares to celebrate Mandela Day on Monday, where the public is asked to give 67 minutes of their time for volunteer work, one minute for each year Mandela devoted to the struggle for equality in South Africa.
This is the second visit to Qunu by the frail 92-year-old anti-apartheid icon, who has been receiving round-the-clock medical care at home since his release from hospital in January for an acute respiratory infection.
He last visited Qunu in May and returned to Johannesburgh on June 2.
“Among those present to receive Mandela at the airport were members of his medical team,” the newspaper said.
Mandela was elected the country’s first black president in South Africa’s first all-race vote in 1994 and served one term before stepping down in 1999.