Mandela recovering, says Zuma

LYDIA POLGREEN

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma gave a largely upbeat assessment on Tuesday of the health of Nelson Mandela, the nation's first black president and anti-apartheid icon, who has spent more than two weeks in the hospital for a lung infection and gallstones.

Zuma said in a statement that Mandela, 94, "is looking much better" and that "the doctors are happy with the progress he is making."

The President visited Mandela on Christmas morning at a Pretoria hospital along with Mandela's wife, the children's rights activist Graça Machel. "We found him in good spirits," Zuma said in the statement. "He shouted my clan name, Nxamalala, as I walked into the ward."

Mandela has been in increasingly frail health, and his latest hospitalisation has been the longest since he was released from prison in 1990. His health is closely watched; local news organisations have been camped at the hospital.

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