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Ailing Nelson Mandela Is Reportedly Improving

Posted: July 14, 2013

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The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader, Nobel laureate and first black president of South Africa has been hospitalized for weeks with a lung infection.

A man signs a large birthday card at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria for ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela's upcoming July 18 birthday. 'Madiba' is Mandela's clan name.

A man signs a large birthday card at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria for ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela's upcoming July 18 birthday. 'Madiba' is Mandela's clan name. Alexander Joe

Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized, but his health is reportedly improving after spending five weeks in a Pretoria hospital with a lung infection.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela, the country's first black president, says that the former anti-apartheid and Nobel laureate could be discharged soon.

Mandela has been in critical condition since June 8 when he was hospitalized with the recurring infection, which he first contracted during his 27 years as a political prison.

Although the most recent report from the hospital continues to list Mandela in critical but stable condition, his wife, Graca Machel and current President Jacob Zuma have said he is responding to treatment.

Mandela's grandson, Zondwa Mandela, told Reuters he hoped his grandfather would by "seated with us" for the "small lunch" planned for his 95th birthday on Thursday, but that it was up to the doctors.

"Really it's a medical thing and we are hoping that through his treatment he has a speedy recovery," he said.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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