Mandela makes rare appearance on TV

Cape Town, April 30 (IANS) The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Monday showed rare footage of former president Nelson Mandela sitting in a chair with a blanket over his legs, flanked by President Jacob Zuma, his medical team and several senior members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

“We had some conversation with him, shook hands, he was smiling,” Zuma told the SABC, Xinhua reported.

“He’s really up and about, (and) stabilized. We are very happy, we think he is fine.”

Zuma, along with ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, party chairwoman Baleka Mbete, visited Mandela at his Houghton home in Johannesburg earlier Monday.

“Mandela is doing well at his home in Houghton Johannesburg,” the SABC said.

This was the first footage of Mandela in many months. The last time Mandela appeared on TV was May 31 last year. The footage at that time showed a healthy Mandela receiving a flame marking the ANC centenary at his home in Qunu, Eastern Cape.

Mandela’s health has been the focus of attention in recent years.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero was re-admitted to an unidentified hospital March 27 due to the recurrence of his lung infection. He was discharged several days later.

This was the third time that Mandela was hospitalized since December last year. He was hospitalized for 18 days for a lung infection and gallstones.

Mandela served as South African president from 1994 to 1999. He had spent 27 years in prison before elected the first black president in the country after the end of apartheid.

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