Get well soon, Tata

SOUTH Africa, and indeed the rest of the world breathed a sigh of relief at the weekend following the good news that iconic former president Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital, a day after being admitted for "a long-standing abdominal complaint".

As if in the throes of a macabre dress rehearsal, news cameras relocated from his Qunu, Eastern Cape, homestead to the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria in a media flurry that seems to surpass all imaginable dramas whenever the world's most loved statesman falls ill.

Gladly, this time around the public relations by the presidency and the ANC was commendable, helping to allay unnecessary fears.

Mandela's wife and former Mozambique first lady Graca Machel was at his bedside and she and the extended family are surely wishing for privacy and peace during this trying time.

In an ideal setting, especially if Madiba were an ordinary man, maybe their wishes would be granted, albeit grudgingly. But Madiba is an extraordinary man in many ways; starting with his staying power.

According to the Sunday Times, he has at 93, outlived most of his peers across the globe and has survived many health scares, chief among which are five significant cases.

In 1985, Mandela underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate gland that had caused a urinary blockage.

In 1988, while incacerated the statesman was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent six weeks recovering in hospital.

In 1994, aged 75, Madiba had cataract surgery a few months after being sworn in as South Africa's first black president. His tear glands had been damaged by years of being forced to smash limestone rocks - high in alkaline - in the quarry on Robben Island, which had caused Mandela's eyes to dry out.

In 2001, he received radiotherapy for prostate cancer, but the following year he was given a clean bill of health for the disease.

In January 2011, at the age of 92, Madiba was admitted to Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital. His office said it was for routine tests, but the hospital stay was extended, which led to an outpouring of concern in South Africa and internationally.

It was later revealed Mandela had had respiratory problems, but he was released in a stable condition for treatment at home and intense medical monitoring.

Madiba is no ordinary man but despite his innumerable achievements he is human, not deserving to be treated like a spectacle. So, it is about time he was given a breather to recuperate in peace.

We wish him well.