Discuss as:

Mandela making 'sustained' improvement in hospital, Zuma says

Alexander Joe / AFP - Getty Images

Members of the congregation at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, a flashpoint during the anti-apartheid struggle, pray on Sunday for former South African President Nelson Mandela.

LONDON -- Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela is making “sustained” improvement in  South Africa hospital but is still in a serious condition as he recovers from a lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

In a speech marking the 1976 Soweto youth uprisings against apartheid, Zuma invited his audience to wish the 94-year-old former leader “a very happy Father’s Day.”

In his remarks, posted on the government’s Web site, he referred to ailing Mandela by his clan name, Madiba.

“Let me at this juncture, invite you all to keep Madiba in our thoughts and prayers. As you are aware, President Nelson Mandela is still in hospital in Pretoria.

“We are grateful that he continues to get better.

“Over the last two days, although he remains serious, his doctors have stated that his improvement has been sustained. He continues to engage with family.

“I invite you to join me today, in wishing Madiba a very happy Father’s Day today. We love him and know that he loves us too."

It is the second time in less than four months that Mandela has been treated in hospital.

Related:

South Africans fret about post-Mandela civil strife

Mandela's visible legacy: South Africa's interracial couples no longer need to hide

From the archives: June 12, 1964 - Mandela sentenced to life behind bars