Nelson Mandela 'recovering well' - grandson

image source, AFP
image captionMr Mandela was taken to hospital last week for the third time this year

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is "recovering well" in hospital, his grandson says.

Mr Mandela is spending his eighth day in hospital in the capital, Pretoria, to receive treatment for a recurring lung infection.

His grandson Mandla Mandela said the former president "looked good" when he visited him in hospital.

Mr Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after leading the struggle against apartheid.

He stepped down five years later.

"I thank the nation and the world for the prayers for Madiba, and the doctors and the office of the ANC for keeping the family updated," Mandla Mandela said, using the former leader's clan name, according to the AFP.

Mandla Mandela's comments seem to be essentially line with statements made by the South African government in recent days, balancing a reported improvement in the former leader's condition with the fact that it remains serious, the BBC's Mike Wooldridge reports from Johannesburg.

Global icon

Nelson Mandela has been in intensive care since he was taken to hospital on Saturday for the third time this year.

Each visit has provoked greater concern in South Africa and around the world over the welfare of the global icon, who turns 95 next month, our correspondent reports.

Mr Mandela's wife Graca Machel has been at his bedside regularly since calling off a trip to London last week.

In December, he spent 18 days undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones.

Before his latest admission to hospital, Mr Mandela had been ill for some days, with a recurrence of his long-standing lung problems, the president's office said on Tuesday.

Mr Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his role in the fight against apartheid and is believed to have suffered damage to his lungs while working in a prison quarry.

He contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while being held in jail on the windswept Robben Island.

He retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen at official events since.

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