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Mandela to move back to childhood village

By AFP
By AFP

5/28/2012 10:50:03 PM -

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Nelson Mandela will on Tuesday move back to his residence in his childhood village of Qunu, South African President Jacob Zuma said, adding that the elder statesman was in good health.

Mandela has been living at his home in the leafy Johannesburg Houghton suburb while the residence in Qunu, located in the Eastern Cape province, was being refurbished.

"He has indicated his wish to go back to Qunu at this point," said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, quoted by news agency SAPA.

Qunu is the picturesque village in which Mandela grew up. His hilltop house, with a round-the-clock police guard, stands out among many nondescript traditional huts dotting the village.

It is the house where he often entertained guests during private birthday parties, attended by global celebrities and heads of state.

Revered as the symbol of South Africa's post-apartheid reconciliation, Mandela was briefly hospitalised in February, stoking fears over his health.

Now 93, his last public appearance was at the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Mandela was released from 27 years in prison in 1990 and was elected South Africa's first black president four years later. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and served one term before stepping down in 1999.