Nelson Mandela remained in hospital for a sixth day on Thursday receiving treatment for a lung infection after South Africa’s president said the revered anti-apartheid icon was improving.
A small group of people held a candlelight vigil overnight outside the private clinic in Pretoria where the 94-year-old was admitted almost a week ago.
It marked the fourth time since December that Mandela had been admitted to hospital for a pulmonary condition that has plagued him for years.
No update on Mandela’s health was issued on Thursday morning, a day after President Jacob Zuma told parliament the former president was doing better.
“I am happy to report that Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning (Wednesday),” Zuma said, using Mandela’s clan name.
“We are very happy with the progress that he is now making, following a difficult last few days.”
Until now, the government had described his condition as “serious but stable”.
Mandela’s latest health scare has led to a growing acceptance the Nobel peace laureate, who turns 95 in July, may be nearing the end of his life.