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Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital after minor diagnostic surgery

February 26, 2012 |  8:40 am

Former South African president Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital after diagnostic surgery as media members sent news of the former leader's condition to relieved South Africans
REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- South Africans heaved a sigh of relief Sunday as former president Nelson Mandela was discharged from a hospital in good health after a laparoscopy, a surgical procedure in which a camera is inserted into the body to check abdomen or pelvis problems.

South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that Mandela was sent home after the procedure revealed no serious health problems. Mandela had spent the night in the hospital.

South Africa holds its breath whenever its iconic 93-year-old former president -- the nation's first black leader -- has any health issue. Rumors swirled last year when he was admitted to a hospital.

South African officials did not detail the reasons for the laparoscopy other than to say it was a related to a long-standing abdominal condition that caused Mandela some discomfort.

Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Mandela was as "fine as he can be at his age."

Mandela, who launched the African National Congress underground military campaign against apartheid in the 1960s, spent 27 years in jail for treason. After he was freed, he was elected as president in 1994, in the nation's first democratic elections.

Although he remains an enormously important symbol of freedom for South Africans and inspires people around the world, Mandela has not played an active political role for many years.

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-- Robyn Dixon 

Photo: Members of the media stand outside the home of Nelson Mandela on Sunday. Credit: Alexander Joe / AFP/Getty Images

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