JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Nelson Mandela, who spent Christmas in an undisclosed hospital recovering from a serious illness, was in good spirits and looking much better, President Jacob Zuma said Tuesday.
He said Mandela immediately greeted him, shouting out Zuma’s clan name, Nxamalala.
Zuma visited Mandela with Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, and other members of the Mandela family.
“He was happy to have visitors on this special day and is looking much better,” Zuma said in a written statement Tuesday.
Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was admitted to the hospital on Dec. 8 for a lung infection, and later had gallstone surgery.
But Zuma said Tuesday that doctors were happy with Mandela’s progress.
There is no indication when Mandela might be released. It is his longest stint in a hospital since his release from jail almost two decades ago.
Mandela became president after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994 and served one term. In recent years he has retired to Qunu and has rarely been seen in public.