JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africans on Monday welcomed Nelson Mandela‘s discharge from a hospital after nearly three months of treatment amid concerns that his health remains so poor that he still must receive intensive care at home.
An ambulance returned the 95-year-old leader of the anti-apartheid movement to his home in the leafy Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton on Sunday. The office of South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela remains in critical and sometimes unstable condition and will receive the same level of care that he did in the hospital, administered by the same doctors.
Authorities kept a large contingent of journalists away from the entrance to Mandela’s house, and police patrolled tree-lined streets in the area. Some grandchildren and other relatives of the former leader visited the home, but did not comment to the media.
When Mandela was hospitalized, many people left written tributes outside the perimeter wall of his home, turning the area into a makeshift shrine. Most of the messages were later removed.
“If he’s back at home, I’m feeling free,” said Harrison Phiri, a gardener. “He’s the father of the nation.”
Thembisa Mbolambi, another Johannesburg resident, also expressed satisfaction that Mandela had left the hospital in Pretoria, describing him as “the man who offered himself for us.”