South Africa's president says Nelson Mandela has steadily improved over the last few days after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery.
President Jacob Zuma said Thursday that the 94-year-old Mandela's condition had been serious but that the anti-apartheid icon had responded well to treatment.
Mandela was admitted December 8 to a hospital in the capital, Pretoria.
Mandela was a leader of the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa, serving 27 years in prison for his beliefs.
He served one five-year term as president before retiring from public life.