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Mandela's Condition Unchanged Government Says

A man takes a moment to read some of the get well wishes and messages outside Nelson Mandela's house in Johannesburg, South Africa, July, 4, 2013.
South Africa says former president Nelson Mandela remains in 'critical but stable' condition at the Pretoria hospital where he was admitted last month.

The update on the 94-year-old former leader follows a visit to the hospital by current President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

In a statement, Zuma thanked the nation and the international community for their continued support.

He urged South Africans to volunteer 67 minutes of their time on July 18, Mandela's birthday, to help change their communities and South Africa for the better.

The 67 minutes symbolizes the number of years Mandela spent in public service.

Meanwhile in a rare comment, Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, said Thursday the ailing former leader is sometimes uncomfortable, but rarely in pain, adding that "he is fine."

Machel spoke Thursday at a fundraising drive for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust.

Mandela has remained at Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital since he was rushed there on June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

For weeks, groups of well-wishers have gathered outside the hospital, delivering flowers and messages of support for the ailing former president.

Mandela is considered a national hero in South Africa for his role in ending official racial discrimination and white-minority rule. After spending 27 years in prison, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was elected South Africa's first black president the following year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.