Mandela released from hospital to home care

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JOHANNESBURG -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela was released Wednesday from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection and having gallstones removed, a government spokesman said.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon will continue to receive medical care at home.

Mandela was hospitalized Dec. 8. His "home-based high care" will be at his residence in Johannesburg until he fully recovers, said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.

David Phetoe, a resident of the Johannesburg township of Soweto, reacted with joy when he heard that Mandela was no longer in a hospital.

"It's not always the case, when people offer great expectations, that those expectations are fulfilled," he said. "In this case, we say in the same tone, in the Christmas mood and in the Christmas season, let him stick around for a while!"

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Mandela 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. -- AP

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