Mandela 'still critical but stable'

Updated: 2013-07-02 06:37


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Mandela 'still critical but stable'

A child views messages of support outside the home of ailing former President Nelson Mandela in Houghton, Johannesburg, July 1, 2013. [Photo/Agencies] 

CAPE TOWN - South Africans are ready to celebrate the 95th birthday of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela who has been hospitalized for more than three weeks for a recurring lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said.

Zuma said Mandela "is still critical but stable" in a Pretoria hospital where he was admitted on June 8.

"We remind all South Africans to begin planning for Madiba's birthday on the 18th of July. We must all be able to do something good for humanity on this day, in tribute to our former President, " said Zuma.

Zuma thanked all South Africans for keeping the former president and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

It was the latest official update on Mandela's condition.

On Saturday, Speaker of the National Assembly Max Sisulu said Mandela was making progress.

"We are pleased with the progress Madiba is making," he said after visiting Mandela.

"We love him dearly and don't want to let him go."

On the same day, Zuma said, "We hope very soon he (Mandela) will be out of hospital."

His words gave a glimmer of hope over Mandela's health.

Mandela's birthday, July 18, was recognized in 2009 by the UN as Nelson Mandela International Day.

For the 4th Mandela International Day, there will be official programs to celebrate Mandela's birthday. Different organizations have worked out plans to celebrate the day with public gatherings, concerts and charity events.

The establishment of Nelson Mandela International Day followed Mandela's call to the world on June 27, 2008 that people can all make a difference by doing good in their communities.

Mandela's Day serves as an annual call to action to people everywhere to contribute to the global movement for doing good by effecting change within their communities. During the day, individuals around the globe are urged to give 67 minutes of their time to make a change in their community and thus, the world.