Thousands of people celebrate the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated on July 18 in Pretoria, South Africa. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
Children from the Vukazenele Higher Primary School in the Mofolo North Neighborhood of Soweto sing for Nelson Mandela's birthday on July 18 in Johannesburg. Children in schools across the country were called upon to sing "Happy Birthday" as the school day started. J. Countess / Getty Images
By Ron Allen, Correspondent, NBC News
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – As South Africa marked Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday with a nationwide “day of service” on Thursday, the government announced that the anti-apartheid icon’s health was improving.
“Madiba remains in hospital in Pretoria but his doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving,” the government said in a statement, referring to Mandela by his clan name.
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Thousands of people celebrate Mandela's 95th birthday outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated on July 18 in Pretoria, South Africa. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
Schoolchildren sing "Happy Birthday" at Phefeni High School, opposite Mandela's former home in Soweto Township on July 18, 2013 in Johannesburg. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
A boy paints a message for former South African President Nelson Mandela on the wall at Kilimani Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya. Dai Kurokawa / EPA
A child sings "Happy Birthday" outside the Medi Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria. Stephane De Sakutin / AFP - Getty Images
Schoolchildren pray for Mandela after singing "Happy Birthday" to him at Phefeni High School, opposite Mandela's former home in Soweto Township in Johannesburg. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
A man walks past a Mandela banner on the City Hall in Matosinhos, Portugal, on July 18. Paulo Duarte / AP
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