Obamas send birthday wishes to Nelson Mandela

Barack and Michelle Obama have sent their best wishes to Nelson Mandela on the former South African president's 95th birthday.

The US president and first lady said the world can honour Mandela by heeding his example and serving others.

The couple met the Mandela family last month on a visit to the former prison on Robben Island where the former leader spent 18 years in jail.

Barack Obama stands in the Robben Island prison cell in which Nelson Mandela spent 18 years. Credit: Reuters

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Mandela 'critical but stable'

Nelson Mandela remains in hospital in Pretoria in a critical but stable condition, President Jacob Zuma said. Doctors are working hard to keep the former president comfortable.