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Mandela health improvement sustained, Jacob Zuma says

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized for nine days with a lung infection, but is getting better, Jacob Zuma says.

Mandela 03 29 2013Enlarge
Mandela in 2008. The Nobel peace laureate retired from public life in 2004. (Gareth Davies/Getty Images)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela continues to get better as he recovers from a lung infection in a Pretoria hospital, current President Jacob Zuma said Sunday.

The ex-leader remains in serious condition but is seeing sustained improvement.

More from GlobalPost: Nelson Mandela appears to be recovering

Zuma said Mandela "continues to engage with family."

Speaking at a Youth Day celebration in South Africa, Zuma asked the crowd to join him in wishing Mandela a happy Father's Day.

Mandela, 94, was admitted to the intensive care unit on June 8 for treatment of a recurrent lung infection. It is his fourth hospital stay since December, after being treated for pneumonia in April and having gall stones removed.

More from GlobalPost: South Africans increasingly resigned to Nelson Mandela's fate

Mandela's grandson Mandla spoke in a similar vein on Saturday, saying his grandfather "looked good" after paying him a visit in an attempt to soothe widely-broadcast fears that the apartheid icon was near death.

Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994.

June 12 marked the anniversary of Mandela's 1964 sentence to life in prison at Robben Island off of Capetown, where poor conditions did damage to his lungs.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/130616/mandela-health-improvement-sustained-jacob-zuma-say