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A balloon with the face of Nelson Mandela is released into the sky by a well-wisher outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital. Ben Curtis/AP/Press Association Images
Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela showing 'sustained improvement'

The latest statement from the Office of the Presidency in South Africa says the 95-year-old is still in a critical condition.

AFTER MORE THAN six weeks in hospital, Nelson Mandela’s health is said to be improving.

In its latest update, the Office of the Presidency in South Africa says the 95-year-old is “still in a critical condition but shows sustained improvement”.

Current president Jacob Zuma visited his predecessor today, assuring him of the “love and support” of all the nation. He noted that the birthday celebrations on 18 July were the “biggest ever” with “scores of South Africans engaging in community service in honour of Madiba”, using the anti-apartheid hero’s tribal name.

Zuma also shared a message from the family of former ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli, who led the ANC during the period that former President Mandela was arrested.

On my behalf and Luthuli family as a whole, I wish you an enjoyable happy birthday. I am encouraged by the reports that have come through recently from the Presidency and Mandela family pointing on the direction of some recovery in your physical condition. I pray that it be sustainable each day as time takes you forward.
I shall forever cherish some of those moments when you came to my father’s home on the business of the ANC and we had to make tea and scones and host you. That laid the basis to regard you as my father after the death of my own biological father, Chief Albert Luthuli, and one has to admit that you always acted in the manner that consolidated that acknowledgement. May God Be With You!

President Zuma also reiterated his call to the nation to continue to keep Madiba in their thoughts and prayers.

Mandela was admitted to hospital on 8 June with a recurring lung infection. It is his fourth and longest stay in hospital this year.

Read: Shops cashing in on Mandela illness with merchandise

Pics: ‘Humbled’ Barack Obama visits Nelson Mandela’s prison cell

Watch: Mandela wore a Springbok jersey to present the Rugby World Cup

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