Nelson Mandela returns to Houghton home

2013-09-01 11:38

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Former president Nelson Mandela quietly arrived back home just after 11am after being discharged from hospital.

The Netcare ambulance in which he arrived home pulled into the driveway minutes after police vehicles cordoned off the road outside his home. Madiba's small convoy contained his ambulance, a similar-looking, slightly smaller military ambulance and two Mercedes Vitos (vans).

A few minutes later more members of his medical team arrived. Military sources say Mandela has 27 doctors caring for him.

An hour before he had arrived the street in front of his home was quiet, except for three or four tourists taking pictures and staff and security members arriving and leaving.

His arrival was met with a flurry of activity on the chilly but sunny Spring Day morning. About seven television cameras were set up on the pavement opposite his home. Official confirmation of Mandela's discharge came soon after he had already left the hospital in Pretoria.

Members of the public have already started flocking to Mandela's home as news broke of his discharge.

Meanwhile, at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, journalists had begun the task of packing up their sidewalk media camps. Some had been there for more than 80 days.

Many international news agencies had set up mobile satellites on the backs of bakkies, scaffolding for cameras, as well as tarps and gazebos, complete with camping chairs and tables.

Portable generators had been brought in to provide power for cameras, laptops and the floodlights used.

One staffer said they would do a few more live crossings today before calling it quits.

Another American cameraman said the experience had not been all bad, adding that the "police and the locals" had been really good.

Occasionally a passerby would snap a cellphone picture of the hospital's walls, which remain adorned with pictures of Madiba, ANC flags and the thousands of messages of support the South African statesman has received.

Read the presidency’s full statement:

Full statement – Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital

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