Catholic bishops in southern Africa were praying for the speedy recovery of former president Nelson Mandela, who was spending a third day in Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Friday.
“On behalf of the bishops, clergy, religious sisters and brothers as well as the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, the Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa extend to President Mandela and his family our prayers for his speedy recovery,” said Cardinal Wilfred Napier.
He said Mandela means different things to different people. To his family he was a caring patriarch and to the nation a “great and inspiring leader”. “Tata, you are in our prayers.”
He was released from hospital earlier today and is back at home, as is reported here by Associated Press:
Johannesburg (AP) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela went home from the hospital Friday after suffering an acute respiratory infection. Officials said the 92-year-old was joking with his wife and nurses, and handling the difficulties of old age “with the greatest of grace.”
Surgeon-General Vejaynand Ramlakan told reporters that the anti-apartheid icon would now receive care at home after about 48 hours in Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital.
“It comes to us this afternoon with great joy to hear that he’s been discharged,” grandson Mandla Mandela told reporters at a hospital news conference that included Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Soon afterward, a convoy of security vehicles and a military ambulance carrying Mandela left the hospital, reaching his nearby home in minutes…
A dearth of updates since Mandela was admitted Wednesday afternoon had led to speculation and concern about his condition. Journalists have been camped outside the hospital and outside his Johannesburg home. Officials said Friday that Mandela’s office has received more than 10,000 messages of support and well wishes, including from President Barack Obama.
Motlanthe, who is acting president while President Jacob Zuma is traveling abroad, said in retrospect communications should have been better.
“Madiba has received similar checkups in the past and it’s never raised the same public panic it has now,” Motlanthe said, explaining why officials had not been prepared. South Africans affectionately call the 92-year-old Madiba, his clan’s name.
Ramlakan, the surgeon general, said Mandela was in stable condition and had not been on a respirator.
Mandela also had a respiratory infection eight years ago and contracted tuberculosis in 1988 while in prison, Ramlakan said. He added Mandela takes medication for a chronic, unnamed condition, and needs help to walk.
“Despite all of this, his amazing positive attitude allows him to cope with the difficulties of old age with the greatest of grace,” said Ramlakan, who is the South African army’s top doctor. The army is charged with the care of former presidents in South Africa.
Ramlakan would not say whether Mandela’s most recent infection was in the upper or lower regions of his respiratory tract. A lower tract infection could have signaled more serious problems than an upper respiratory problem.
“We are at the end of the day talking about somebody who is 92 years old,” Ramlakan said. “When you are 92 years old, what is routine is very different from when you are 19.”
Motlanthe said Mandela was joking with his wife and nurses before being released Friday…