2 September 2013

South Africa: To Houghton! Mandela Leaves Hospital


Former president Nelson Mandela is back in Houghton. After almost three months at Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital he will continue to receive treatment at his own home.

The presidency wants everyone to give him space, but unless his health improves, the public's interest in his condition will not wane.

For 12 weeks I've wondered why Mandela's Houghton home has been the place to visit. Since the former president was admitted to hospital on 8 June for a recurring lung infection, school children have come to sing their respects.

Tourists have taken pictures of the rocks painted with words like "I love you tata" that sit beside the fence. Policemen outside the house have had to take inside the bouquets of flowers left for Madiba.

Mandela isn't even there, I thought; he was in a Pretoria hospital. Even his esteemed wife Graca Machel wasn't there as she reportedly kept vigil by his bedside.

The overflow of emotion as his "condition remains critical", however, had to spill out somewhere and Mandela's Houghton home became one of the places the public could pay tribute to the former ANC leader who spent almost three decades in prison for standing against Apartheid....

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