Nelson Mandela has recovered from his recent lung infection and a gallstones operation, President Jacob Zuma said today.
The former anti-apartheid leader, 94, has made “steady progress and clinically, he continues to improve,” Mr Zuma’s office said. Mr Mandela was in hospital for three weeks before he was allowed to return to his home in the suburb of Houghton, Johannesburg, on Boxing Day.
Mandela has been reading newspapers, sitting up in bed and receiving visitors, according to reports in the South African media.
The news that Mandela has recovered from the recurring lung infection and the minor surgery will reassure many in South Africa concerned about the health of the aged leader, who has become increasingly frail over the years.
A year ago, Mandela was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection. He was discharged days later. He also had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985.
Under South Africa's white-minority apartheid regime, Mandela served 27 years in prison, where he contracted tuberculosis, before being released in 1990. He later became the nation's first democratically elected president in 1994 under the banner of the African National Congress. He served one five-year term before retiring.
He last made a public appearance on a major stage when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.
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