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Nelson Mandela 'in good shape,' says South African president

By Dana Ford, CNN
updated 10:26 AM EDT, Tue April 30, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New images of the former leader appear to show a frail man
  • Mandela, 94, was discharged from the hospital this month
  • "We are very happy. We think that he's fine," says the president

(CNN) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela is "in good shape," the country's president said Monday, but new images seem to suggest otherwise.

In a video released by the South African Broadcasting Corp., Mandela sits at his home in Johannesburg in a plush beige chair with a pillow supporting his head and a blanket covering his legs. South African President Jacob Zuma sits beside Mandela, who does not appear to engage with reporters or others in the room.

At one point, one of Mandela's grandsons takes a picture. When the flash goes off, Mandela closes his eyes. He is known to be sensitive to flash photography.

The 94-year-old, who was South Africa's first black president, was discharged from the hospital on April 6. He was admitted in late March and received treatment for a recurring lung infection and pneumonia.

Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country's president, Jacob Zuma. Mandela was 95. Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country's president, Jacob Zuma. Mandela was 95.
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
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The evolution of Nelson Mandela The evolution of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela leaves hospital

"The doctors gave us a report and, of course, we saw him. He's looking very good; he's in good shape," Zuma told the SABC. "We are very happy. We think that he's fine."

Zuma said he spoke with Mandela and that they shook hands and he smiled.

The president's comments echoed a statement released by the African National Congress.

The governing party said that officials are satisfied that Mandela "is in good health and is receiving the very best medical care."

The video released Monday is the first of the former leader since his birthday in July.

Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has become increasingly frail over the years.

His history of lung problems dates back to when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid. He contracted tuberculosis during his imprisonment.

He underwent treatment for a lung infection and had surgery to remove gallstones over the Christmas holiday in 2012, one of his longest hospital stays since his release from prison in 1990.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Kim Norgaard contributed to this report.

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