Nelson Mandela 'steady improvement' in hospital

Nelson Mandela in June 2010 Nelson Mandela's health has been a cause of concern for some time

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela is making "steady improvement" under treatment for pneumonia, his doctors have said.

South Africa's presidency said in a statement that Mr Mandela had been visited by his family as he continues to make progress.

He was responding well to treatment and was much better than when admitted to hospital on 27 March, it said.

The hospital stay is Mr Mandela's fourth in just over two years.

In December he was treated for a lung infection and gallstones - his longest period in hospital since leaving prison in 1990.

In February, he was treated for a stomach condition.

Last week the former president, 94, had fluid drained from his lungs at the hospital, the name of which has not been disclosed.

There are no details yet on how much longer he will stay there.

Mr Mandela served as South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1999 and is regarded by many as the father of the nation for leading the struggle against apartheid.

Despite his long imprisonment, Mr Mandela forgave his former enemies and as president urged South Africans of all races to work together and seek reconciliation.

In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

His main home is in Qunu, a small rural village in Eastern Cape province, where he says he spent the happiest days of his childhood.

However, doctors said in December he should remain at his home in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton to be close to medical facilities.

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