Mandela continues hospital stay

Global icon Nelson Mandela who celebrated his 95th birthday this week remained in hospital on Saturday, six weeks after he was admitted for treatment for a lung illness.

The condition of the Nobel prize laureate was on Thursday, on his birthday, described by President Jacob Zuma's office as "steady and improving."

Only Zuma's office is empowered to issue official updates on the health of the revered leader.

Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj said no new information had been given on his condition.

Last week Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, said she was less anxious about his condition than she was a week earlier.

Mandela was rushed to hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection that had already put him in hospital three times in less than a year.

The ailing statesman became South Africa's first black president in 1994, after leading negotiations that ended apartheid.

He stepped down from his job in 1999, after serving a single four year term.

People have been posting messages of support outside the hospital in capital Pretoria where he is being treated.