South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed has spoken for the first time since returning home and has thanked South Africans for supporting him and his family while he was in captivity in Syria for almost three years.Mohamed returned to the country in early January. He had been away from home since January 2017, after being kidnapped while covering the war in Syria. In a recorded video, Mohamed and his mother Shireen thanked everyone, including the government and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who assisted the family to ensure the photojournalist's safe release. "Too many people to thank. Too many names to mention. From my side, I thank everyone [who] stood with my family. Everyone [who] assisted in trying to ensure my release... It's good to be back in the country. It's good to be back with my family," Mohamed said. Mohamed asked for time to "gain strength, adding that he would soon announce when a media briefing would be held. For almost three years, his family appealed to the public for help to raise funds to secure his freedom. News24 previously reported that Mohamed had escaped from his captors, according to humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers.Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said a man had told them that Mohamed was with Turkish officials and later sent him two pictures as proof that he was alive and safe.