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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — Former South African President Nelson Mandela returned home Sunday after spending a day in hospital to undergo tests as part of a 'scheduled medical check-up,' a presidential spokesman said, but few details were immediately released.
The anti-apartheid icon returned to his home in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon after undergoing a medical examination at a hospital in Pretoria. "The doctors have completed the tests. He is well and as before, his health remains under the management of the medical team," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.
Mandela, 94, was hospitalized on Saturday afternoon for what the government described as a scheduled medical check-up to manage existing conditions in line with his old age. But the visit raised new concerns about the former president's health as no specific details were given.
"We continue to appeal for privacy for Madiba and his family," Maharaj said, referring to Mandela by his Xhosa clan name.
Mandela was also hospitalized in December 2012 for what later was revealed to be a recurrence of a previous lung infection. The anti-apartheid icon also underwent a successful procedure on December 15 to remove gallstones which were discovered while Mandela was undergoing tests.
The hospitalization in December lasted for more than three weeks. Major South African news organizations harshly criticized the government's handling of information relating to Mandela's hospitalization, complaining that the government did not act on a previously developed protocol that would have ensured the former leader's privacy while keeping South Africans informed of major developments.
Before being elected as president, Mandela was a strong anti-apartheid activist and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress. He spent 27 years in prison after being convicted and sentenced to life in prison on charges for sabotage and other crimes. Much of his prison term was served on Robben Island.
Mandela was released on February 11, 1990, and became president only four years later, leading the country with a multi-racial administration to end the apartheid. Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk were jointly awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.