By CNN Staff
(CNN) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela has completed his recovery from a lung infection and gallstone surgery and is gradually getting back to his normal routine, a spokesman said Sunday.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela, who has not appeared in public since 2010, continues to receive treatment at his home in Houghton, a suburb of Johannesburg.
Mandela was hospitalized for a lung infection in early December and a week later underwent surgery for removal of gallstones. He was discharged from the hospital after a two-week stay
During the time of apartheid in South Africa, Mandela was convicted of sabotage and was imprisoned for 27 years until 1990.
He and former President F.W. de Klerk, who dismantled apartheid, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. A year later, Mandela became the nation’s first black president.
In November, South Africa issued banknotes bearing Mandela’s picture.
Despite his rare public appearances in recent years, Mandela retains his popularity and is considered a hero of democracy in the nation.
Mandela’s impact has extended far beyond the borders of his own country. After he left office in 1999, he was involved in mediating conflicts from Africa to the Mideast.
Mandela, 94, also was treated for an acute respiratory infection in January 2011. The next month he had surgery for an abdominal hernia.