Johannesburg - Ageing anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela is healthy and in good spirits, President Jacob Zuma said after a visit to Mandela's rural retirement homestead.

“It is wonderful to find him in good spirits and so relaxed,” said Zuma in a statement after stopping by at the end of a working visit to launch schools in the Eastern Cape, where Mandela's rural Qunu home is based.

“I assure our people that Madiba is in very good health and comfortable. And he looks as handsome as ever,” said Zuma, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

Mandela, who turned 94 in July, has grown frail and has not appeared in public since South Africa's World Cup soccer final in 2010.

Zuma said he updated Mandela on developments in the country.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his fight against white minority rule under apartheid, becoming the country's first black president in 1994. - AFP