Mandela's family rules out return to ancestral homeland
NELSON MANDELA'S family has rejected calls for him to be returned to his ancestral homeland now that he has been released from hospital, saying he should stay in Johannesburg where care is better.
The 95-year-old former South African president was discharged to his home on Sunday after three months of intensive hospital care in nearby Pretoria for the respiratory infection that resulted in him being placed on a ventilator.
Yesterday, his family visited him at his house in the suburb of Houghton, where a clinic has been set up to allow him to receive intensive care on site.
But there were suggestions from traditional leaders that he was "not really home" until he returned to Qunu, the rural village in the Eastern Cape where he grew up and build a house for his retirement.
Phathekile Holomisa, the president of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, said Mr Mandela needed to be reunited with his living relatives and to be among the spirits of his ancestors.
Although Mr Mandela has expressed a wish to spend his last days and be buried in Qunu, the 500-mile trip involves a 90-minute flight and an additional 45-minute drive over bumpy roads.
His family reacted angrily to the suggestion that he should return to Qunu so soon. Ndileka Mandela, his oldest granddaughter, said Mr Holomisa should "mind his own business".
"He is not a Mandela or a member of our family," she said. "Even if that were the case, we would not bow to pressure because grandad's health is of primary concern."
Mr Mandela's daughter Zindzi dismissed claims that he had been sent home to die.
"When he's in hospital for more than a month or so there is this hysteria that this must be the end," she said.
"Then when he is sent home, the media and public are not satisfied, they think he must be sent home to die. Please make your mind up people. My father is very alert."
Although Mr Mandela has spent his first night at home, there were no official updates on his condition.
In announcing Mr Mandela's discharge, the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said he remained in a critical and sometimes unstable condition. A statement from Mr Zuma's office also said Mr Mandela would receive the same level of intensive care that he did in the hospital, administered by the same doctors. (© Daily Telegraph, London)