South Africa: Mandela in good spirits in hospital

Associated Press
FILE  This May 16, 2011 file photo supplied by the South African Government Communications and Information Services, GCIS, shows former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel after they cast an early ballot in upcoming local elections at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa's president has visited former leader Nelson Mandela in a hospital, and the presidency says Mandela continues to respond to treatment. The office of President Jacob Zuma says he saw Mandela on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012,  in Pretoria, the capital, and assured the anti-apartheid icon that he has the support of all South Africans and the world. Mandela, who is 94, has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. He was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had gallstone surgery. (AP Photo/Elmond Jiyane-GCIS, File)
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FILE This May 16, 2011 file photo supplied by the South African Government Communications and Information Services, GCIS, shows former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel after they cast an early ballot in upcoming local elections at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa's president has visited former leader Nelson Mandela in a hospital, and the presidency says Mandela continues to respond to treatment. The office of President Jacob Zuma says he saw Mandela on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, in Pretoria, the capital, and assured the anti-apartheid icon that he has the support of all South Africans and the world. Mandela, who is 94, has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. He was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had gallstone surgery. (AP Photo/Elmond Jiyane-GCIS, File)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's presidency says former leader Nelson Mandela, who has been in a hospital since Dec. 8, is looking better and in good spirits.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Wednesday that 94-year-old Mandela's condition "remains as it was yesterday."

President Jacob Zuma had joined Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, and other family members in wishing a Merry Christmas to Mandela at his hospital bedside in Pretoria, the South African capital.

Mandela, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement, was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had a procedure to remove gallstones. Officials have said Mandela is improving, but note doctors are taking extraordinary care because of his age.

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