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Nelson Mandela could soon be discharged, former South African president says

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July 13, 2013: Members of the Toronto Children's Chorus choral group from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who are on a tour taking part in the Ihlombe South African Choral Festival, hug each other as they observe some of the get-well messages and flowers, after singing outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa. (AP)

A former president of South Africa says he expects Nelson Mandela to soon be discharged from the hospital to recuperate at home.

South Africa's Eyewitness News reported on Sunday that Thabo Mbeki was speaking at a memorial service Saturday when he predicted that Mandela would be going home.

Mandela has been hospitalized for more than five weeks for a recurring lung infection, sparking an outpouring of support in South Africa and internationally. Friends who have visited him say he is on life support in the form of mechanical ventilation. The most recent official update on his health said Mandela was in critical but stable condition.

The anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa's first black president in 1994. He turns 95 on Thursday.