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Mandela returns to childhood village: presidency

Nelson Mandela arrived Tuesday at his residence in his childhood village of Qunu after spending several months at his Johannesburg home, the South African presidency said.

“The Presidency is pleased to confirm that former president Nelson Mandela has … arrived at his home in Qunu,” said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj in a statement.

The anti-apartheid icon and elder statesman grew up in the picturesque village in the rural Eastern Cape province, where his hilltop house, with a round-the-clock police guard, stands out among many nondescript traditional huts dotting the countryside.

Mandela often entertained guests including global celebrities and heads of state during private birthday parties at this rural abode.

He returned to Qunu after staying temporarily in his residence in the leafy Johannesburg suburb.

“Over the past few months former president Mandela’s Qunu house was being refurbished, and as a result he relocated to his Houghton home during that period,” Maharaj had said.

Revered as the symbol of South Africa’s post-apartheid reconciliation, Mandela was briefly hospitalised in February, stoking fears over his health.

Now 93, his last public appearance was at the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Mandela was released from 27 years in prison in 1990 and was elected South Africa’s first black president four years later. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and served one term before stepping down in 1999.