South African President Jacob Zuma yesterday called in on the former anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg and found him “comfortable and relaxed watching television”.
Zuma paid Mr. Mandela the visit on his way to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) football final, the presidency said in a statement.
“He had the brightest smile, and it was exciting to discuss with him the upcoming State of the Nation address and the AFCON tournament,” Zuma said.
Zuma conveyed well wishes to Mandela's family from all over the world.
Mr. Mandela, 94, has been convalescing after an 18-day hospitalization in December last year for lung infection and gallstone surgery at a military hospital in the capital Pretoria. News of his hospital stay had toward the end of last year elicited much concern the world over.
Fondly known by his clan name Madiba, he is regarded by most South Africans as the father of the nation having led the struggle against white-minority rule. Mr. Mandela who was South Africa’s president Mandela between 1994 and 1999 had been imprisoned for 27 years under the apartheid regime with a multiracial democracy.
After his prison term, he publicly forgave his former enemies and urged South Africans, of all races, to work together and seek reconciliation, becoming one of the world’s most loved icons. Mr. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and a year later, was elected South Africa's first black president in democratic elections.
He has had a history of lung infections, having being diagnosed with tuberculosis in the 1980s while in prison. His lungs are said to have been damaged while working at a prison quarry. In January 2011, he was treated for a "serious" chest infection.
In 2004, Mr. Mandela retired from public life and has been out of the public scene, having only been last seen at the closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg in 2010.
Nigeria won the AFCON title yesterday after 19 years, with a 1-0 final victory over Burkina Faso at Soccer City in Soweto township outside Johannesburg.