Pretoria — Former president Nelson Mandela's health is improving slowly but steadily, the presidency said on Sunday.
"The medical team also reiterated that although his health was improving steadily, Madiba still remained in a critical condition," spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
Residents of Arcadia, east of Pretoria, where Mandela is being treated for a recurring lung infection, expressed their adoration for the elder statesman on Sunday.
Mother of two, Grace Tshwete, spent time reading to her children several get-well-soon messages pasted on the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital's Celliers Street entrance.
"We all love Madiba as a family. He did a lot for this country. I want my children to remember when they pray," she said.
Using her phone, Tshwete captured several photographs of her children with the messages, pictures of Mandela, and the hospital in the background.
Another resident of Celliers Street, Mia Mathoho, said she had become accustomed to seeing journalists at the hospital, opposite her flat.
Seven broadcast vans were parked outside the hospital. Several journalists, mainly from international media houses, waited nearby.
"It's like I am living in Hollywood, with all these cameras of the international media. Personally, Madiba is my hero and the whole country loves him to bits. We look forward to his discharge from this hospital. He should now rest at home," said Mathoho.
The anti-apartheid icon has been critically ill in hospital for over two months. Sunday was Mandela's 65th day in hospital. He was admitted on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.
Mandela's youngest daughter Zindzi Mandela told the SABC on Friday that her father was becoming more alert and responsive each day.
"Tata now manages to sit up, like now he is able to sit up in a chair for a few minutes in a day. Every day, you know, he is becoming more alert, more responsive and so on," she said.
"Tata is determined not to go anywhere anytime soon. I cannot stress this enough. People must stop saying to the family 'let go, let go'. We are just looking at this man who is saying 'I'm not going anywhere'," she said as she left the hospital.