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Nelson Mandela Showing Sustained Improvement, Says South Africa President, Jacob Zuma

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Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa President salutes the South African military health service band that came to play a specially composed march and happy birthday on his 85th birthday, 18 July 2003. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty

JOHANNESBURG — The health of former South African President Nelson Mandela has improved, though he remains in critical condition, the government said Monday.

Mandela is "still in a critical condition in hospital but shows sustained improvement," President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement.

Zuma gave the update after visiting Mandela at the Pretoria hospital where he is receiving treatment. During the visit, he told the anti-apartheid leader of the love and support of all South Africans that was displayed at the leader's 95th birthday celebrations on July 18, Zuma's office said.

The president also asked the nation to continue to keep Mandela in its thoughts and prayers.

Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years during white minority rule, was hospitalized June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

On his birthday, well-wishers celebrated the global icon with worldwide tributes dedicated to him on a day declared by the U.N. as the Nelson Mandela International Day. In South Africa, many people performed community service to honor Mandela.

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Nelson Mandela (Captions by AP)
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