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Mandela making dramatic progress: daughter


08:33, July 18, 2013

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is making "dramatic" progress and "might be going home soon," his elder daughter said on Wednesday.

Zindzi Mandela who visited his father on the eve of his 95th birthday said Mandela is responding well to treatment.

However, the ailing Noble Prize winner will spend his 95th birthday in the Pretoria Mediclinic Heart Hospital.

"I visited him yesterday (Tuesday) and he was watching television with headphones," said Zindzi in an interview with Britain's Sky TV. "He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand... He responds with his eyes and his hands."

She added that Madiba was gaining "energy and strength".

"I should think he will be going home anytime soon," she said.

The latest description by Zindzi, who is one of Madiba's daughters by his second wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was a sharp contrast to earlier reports which said Mandela was on life support and near death.

According to the latest official update released last Thursday, Mandela was still in critical but stable condition.

Mandela, South Africa's first black president from 1994 to 1995, turns 95 on July 18, which is also the Nelson Mandela International Day.

Mandela has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. This is his fourth hospitalization since December last year.

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