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Grandson says Mandela improving

Nelson Mandela (left) will turn 95 next month.

Nelson Mandela (left) will turn 95 next month.

JOHANNESBURG — A grandson of Nelson Mandela said hopefully he’ll be headed home soon, as the 94-year-old beloved former president marked two weeks in the hospital Friday.

Ndaba Mandela addressed concerns about his grandfather’s health at a Thursday media briefing about a football invitational that will be part of celebrations surrounding Mandela’s 95th birthday on July 18.

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‘‘Positively we can say that he has been getting better and better each day and hopefully he’ll be coming home soon,’’ Ndaba Mandela was quoted as saying by The Star, a South African newspaper.

‘‘For us, as family, as long as he can still hear and understand what is said to him, and talk to us, we’ll continue to celebrate him,’’ he said.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule, was taken to a Pretoria hospital on June 8 to be treated for a recurring lung infection. It marked the fourth time he has been hospitalized since December.

Thabo Mbeki, the former president who succeeded Mandela in 1999, said he also has remained in close contact with doctors about Mandela’s condition.

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