Home News Mandela returns to Johannesburg after visit to village home

Mandela returns to Johannesburg after visit to village home

Published on 02/06/2011

South Africa's ailing former president Nelson Mandela was on his way home to Johannesburg after a visit to his village home, following a health scare earlier this year, an official said Thursday.

“He is coming back to Johannesburg after spending time with his family in the Eastern Cape,” said presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa.

The 10-day trip to Qunu, about 800 kilometres (500 miles) from Johannesburg, was the first since Mandela left hospital after a health scare in January.

“He is doing very well,” Kodwa said, referring to Mandela’s health.

The frail 92-year-old had been receiving round-the-clock medical care after being hospitalised for an acute respiratory infection in January.

Mandela was flown Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on May 22 and then taken by military ambulance to Qunu.

The anti-apartheid icon made the trip to Qunu for the exhumation and reburial of his three children with his first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase, Sapa news agency reported.

Their baby daughter Makaziwe died at just nine months in 1947.

The couple’s oldest son, Madiba Thembekile, was killed in a car accident in 1969. At the time Mandela was in the apartheid prison on Robben Island and denied permission to attend the funeral.

Their other son, Makgatho Lewanika Mandela, died of an AIDS-related illness in 2005.

According to local media, the exhumation was organised by Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela, traditional chief in the Nobel laureate’s birthplace, Mvezo village.

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.

In the run-up to his 93rd birthday on July 18, his foundation has called for the world to observe “Mandela Mondays” by doing volunteer work on Mondays.

In 2009, the United Nations declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day, on which the former president has urged people to do good deeds.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was last seen in public at the closing ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg in July 2010.