Nelson Mandela 'responding to treatment' - Jacob Zuma

People gather for Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated for a lung infection on June 30, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. South Africa is preparing to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday on 18 July

Nelson Mandela is responding to treatment but remains in a critical condition, South African President Jacob Zuma said after visiting him.

The former president and global statesman, 94, has been in hospital battling a recurring lung infection since 8 June.

President Zuma's statement urged the public to continue "providing support and showering him with love".

People who have seen him say he remains responsive.

"We are encouraged that Madiba is responding to treatment," said President Zuma, referring to Mr Mandela by his clan name.

The head of Mr Mandela's Thembu tribe, King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, told the AFP news agency on Wednesday that he was "conscious" when he visited his hospital in Pretoria.

"He could not talk, but he recognised me and made a few gestures of acknowledgement, like moving his eyes," he said.

Last week, President Zuma denied reports that Mr Mandela was in a vegetative state.

King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo: "I found him looking better... he showed a sign of response."

Mr Mandela is revered across the world for his role in the fight against white minority rule in South Africa.

He was jailed for 27 years, before being freed in 1990 and elected president in 1994.

Since Mr Mandela was hospitalised, his family's battle for control of his legacy has escalated.

Last week, his grandson Mandla lost a court case brought by rival family members over the burial site of three of Mr Mandela's children.

Mandla had relocated the bodies to his village of Mvezo without the rest of the family's consent. However, the court ruled that the bodies should be reinterred in the family graveyard in Qunu. He may now face criminal charges for alleged grave tampering.

After visiting Mr Mandela, King Dalindyebo said he was doing all he can to give the former leader peace of mind over the affair.

More on This Story

Mandela health crisis

More Africa stories


Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of

  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news

  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support

  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine


  • A robot which is due to compete in the 2014 RoboCupClick Watch

    Why robots from 45 countries are playing football in Brazil, plus other technology news

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.