25/12/2012 07:12 GMT | Updated 25/12/2012 07:22 GMT

Nelson Mandela 'In Good Spirits' As He Spends Christmas Morning With Jacob Zuma

Nelson Mandela was in "good spirits" on Christmas morning, South African President Jacob Zuma has revealed.

Zuma joined Mandela's wife Graca Machel and other family members to wish the former President a Merry Christmas at his bedside in Pretoria on December 25.

In a written statement Zuma said: “We found him in good spirits. He shouted my clan name, Nxamalala, as I walked into the ward! He was happy to have visitors on this special day and is looking much better. The doctors are happy with the progress that he is making."

nelson mandela

Nelson Mandela is currently in hospital being treated for a lung infection

President Zuma also thanked the public for the good wishes and prayers since Mandela was admitted to hospital.

“The Mandela family truly appreciates all the support they are receiving from the public. That is what keeps them going at this difficult time," he said.

The 94-year-old is suffering from a recurring lung infection but is responding to treatment, officials said.

He became ill earlier this month and was taken to the 1 Military Hospital near the capital, Pretoria, reported the Associated Press.

In an interview with ENews Central Africa (ENCA) on Monday, Mandela's wife Graca Machel, described how Mandela's "sparkle" was fading.

She added: "To see him ageing, it's something also which pains you. You understand and you know it has to happen."

South Africa's first black president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mandela has previously been treated in hospital for a serious chest infection in 2011, and also for an abdominal problem earlier this year.