Updated: June 28, 2013 2:52PM
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The ex-wife of critically ill Nelson Mandela said Friday that the 94-year-old beloved former president is showing a “great improvement” compared to a few days ago.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gave the update while speaking to journalists outside Mandela’s former home in Soweto.
“I’m not a doctor but I can say that from what he was a few days ago there is great improvement,” said Madikizela-Mandela, who is a member of South Africa’s Parliament.
Madikizela-Mandela pleaded with the media to “understand the sensitivities and the feeling of the family.”
One of Mandela’s daughters, Makaziwe Mandela, was among family members who arrived at the Pretoria hospital on Friday. The ministers of health and defense also visited, the South African Press Association reported.
Outside the Pretoria hospital on Friday, a man flying a drone-like object with a camera attached was led away by several policemen, adding to an already heightened atmosphere where well-wishers continue to gather to pray for Mandela.
Mandela was taken to the hospital on June 8 to be treated for what the government said was a recurring lung infection. South Africans have held prayers nationwide, and many have left flowers and messages of support outside the hospital as well as his home in Johannesburg.
On Thursday, the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela’s health had improved overnight, and that his condition was critical but stable.