JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Nelson Mandela is home after spending nearly three weeks in the hospital undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones.
A spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed that Mandela, who is 94, was transported on Wednesday evening from a Pretoria hospital to his home in Johannesburg’s upscale Houghton neighborhood, where he will continue to recover under the close watch of doctors.
"He will undergo home-based high care at his Houghton home until he recovers fully," spokesman Mac Maharaj said.
On December 8, Mandela was flown from his rural home in Qunu village to the capital Pretoria, where he spent 19 days in hospital receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection and undergoing an endoscopic procedure to remove gallstones.
Mandela, who was South Africa's first black president, spent Christmas Day in hospital and was visited by wife Graca Machel, along with members of the Mandela family and President Zuma, who said he was “looking much better."
This was Mandela’s longest stay in hospital since being released from prison in 1990 after 27 years behind bars. His health has been described as frail in recent years, and his lengthy hospitalization caused widespread concern for the South African icon of the anti-apartheid struggle.
Mandela was last hospitalized in February for a minor surgical procedure to determine the cause of abdominal pain.
In January 2011, he spent two nights at a Johannesburg hospital with an acute respiratory infection. Mandela continued to receive treatment at home after doctors discharged him.
Special Report from GlobalPost: Mandela's Village: South Africa's road from Qunu