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Nation/World

September 2, 2013

Mandela discharged from hospital, returns home

(Continued)

Mandla Mandela, the oldest male Mandela heir, has feuded with family members over the burial site of the anti-apartheid leader’s three deceased children and it was unclear whether his remarks reflected the views of other relatives.

The African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party, welcomed the hospital discharge of its former leader.

“We believe that receiving treatment at home will afford him continuous support from his family and loved ones,” it said in a statement.

Zuma’s office said Mandela “vacillated between serious to critical and at times unstable” during his stay in hospital and that “despite the difficulties imposed by his various illnesses, he, as always, displays immense grace and fortitude.”

It added: “[Mandela] has been treated by a large medical team from the military, academia, private sector and other public health spheres. We thank all the health professionals at the hospital for their dedication.”

The government has released few details about Mandela’s condition, citing patient confidentiality and appealing for Mandela’s privacy and dignity to be respected. But rumors and unconfirmed reports about Mandela’s health have persisted on social media and other forums, fueled in part by the family feud.

In a court case stemming from the dispute over burial sites, some members of Mandela’s extended family recently said in court documents that Mandela was being kept alive by a breathing machine and faces “impending death.” That account was disputed by Zuma’s office, which denied Mandela was “vegetative” but acknowledged his condition was grave.

Mandela has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment. The bulk of that period was spent on Robben Island, a prison off the coast of Cape Town where Mandela and other apartheid-era prisoners spent part of the time toiling in a limestone quarry.

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