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Doctors welcome Mandela home care

Doctors treating former South African leader Nelson Mandela believe the 94-year-old should remain in Johannesburg for now to be close to medical facilities.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said today that doctors think it is "necessary and good" for Mr Mandela, who was released from hospital last night, to stay in his home in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton.

In recent years, the anti-apartheid icon has lived in the village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province, where he grew up.

He was admitted to hospital on December 8 to be treated for a lung infection and also had a procedure to remove gallstones.

In recent days, officials said Mr Mandela was improving and in good spirits, but doctors have taken extraordinary care with his health because of his age.

He is revered around the world as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, his legacy forged in the fight against apartheid, the system of white minority rule that imprisoned him for 27 years.

The Nobel laureate served one five-year term as president after South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. Although the country today struggles with poverty and inequality, Mr Mandela is widely credited with helping to avert race-driven chaos as South Africa emerged from apartheid.

President Jacob Zuma was among those who joined Mr Mandela's wife Graca Machel and other family members in wishing a Merry Christmas to Mr Mandela at his hospital bedside in Pretoria, the South African capital.

Mr Maharaj later said Mr Mandela will receive "home-based high care" at his home in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton until he fully recovers.

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