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Former South African President Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday on Thursday (July18).
Well-wishers and media were gathering early outside the hospital where he's undergoing treatment for a lung infection.
The anti-apartheid icon has been in hospital since June 8th.
The presidency issued a statement on Thursday (July 18) saying that Mandela's doctors had confirmed that his health was steadily improving.
On the eve of Mandel's birthday old friend Mac Maharaj said: "Nelson Mandela, I would like to take this opportunity to wish him everything of the best on his 95th birthday. Get well. Get better. We need you and stay young forever at heart."
The mother of former president Thabo Mbeki, Epainette Mbeki, said: "I am wishing you a happy birthday and many more returns."
July 18th was declared Nelson Mandela International Day by the United Nations in 2009 to encourage people worldwide to carry out 67 minute