Nelson Mandela Makes Slow and Steady Improvement, S. Africa Says

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who led the struggle against apartheid, is improving steadily as he extends his two-month hospital stay, according to the office of the presidency.

“Doctors have indicated to President Jacob Zuma that the former president is making a slow but steady improvement,” the president’s office said today in a statement. “The medical team also reiterated that although his health was improving steadily, Madiba still remained in a critical condition,” it said, referring to Mandela’s clan name.

Mandela turned 95 last month in a Pretoria hospital where he has been treated since June 8. The former president spent 27 years in prison for his opposition to white, minority rule, including 18 years on Robben Island, where he contracted tuberculosis. This is his fourth, and longest, stay in the hospital since December.

Mandela won the Nobel Peace prize in 1993 and became the nation’s first black president a year later when his African National Congress party won elections. He stepped down in 1999.