“It is time for him to return home,” said Silumko Mandela, a clan relative.
“Hence his people and his ancestors are longing for him. According to our tradition, a person of his age must not be kept away from home. Now that he is old age, he should be spending his time close to his ancestors, so that they do not abandon him.”
He said if the former president stayed in Johannesburg, “only the rich and the almighty are able to see him”.
This came after Mandela, 92, was admitted to the Milpark hospital on Wednesday – with the Nelson Mandela Foundation releasing a brief statement saying he was admitted for a “routine check-up”.
His stay at the facility prompted a media frenzy as local and international reporters camped outside the hospital to get clarity on his health.
Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe broke the two-day silence on Friday, announcing that Mandela had developed an acute respiratory infection but was in “high spirits”, receiving treatment and was stable.
He has since been released to recover at home.
The Mandela clan in Qunu said it wanted to visit the former president when they heard the news that he had been admitted to hospital but did not have the money.
“We do not have money to go to Johannesburg, but we can have R11 to go and visit him if he was brought to the city of Mthatha,” Mandela said.
Msizeleni Mjatya, 29, from Qunu said the community would like to see Mandela in his “last days” as they are his people. He said he was pleading with the Mandela family to allow him to “come home to Qunu”.
Nomfungile Cutshalele, 70, who had lived her life in the village, said she knew Mandela when they were children.
She said she was saddened by news of his admittance to hospital.
“When I heard that Mandela was coming home, I thought it was Qunu. The only home Mandela has is Qunu. Let’s remember the reason Mandela left long ago and fled to Johannesburg was because he was avoiding a marriage arranged for him. Therefore Johannesburg is just a run away place for Mandela,” Cutshalele said.
The ANC in the Eastern Cape along with the provincial government and the council of churches announced that a prayer day would be held for Mandela on Sunday in East London.
The prayer day would be held to show support for the family, spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane announced at the ANC’s 99th anniversary gala dinner in Mthatha on Friday.
The ANC in the province was celebrating the party’s 99th anniversary in Mthatha over the weekend.