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Mandela unveils UK anti-apartheid tribute
Nelson Mandela unveiled a plaque to two anti-apartheid activists in London.

Nelson Mandela unveiled a plaque to two anti-apartheid activists in London on Friday to enthusiastic applause from hundreds gathered to greet the South African statesman.

The former South African president paid tribute to Ruth First and her husband, Joe Slovo, who lived in exile in north London between 1966 and 1978, describing them as "great comrades" who had helped to achieve a democratic society in South Africa.

"It is a great honour to appear on this occasion because we are honouring two eminent South Africans who, as young people, decided to join forces against those who suppressed millions of people in our country," he said.

Johannesburg-born First was murdered in 1982 while living in Maputo, Mozambique. A parcel bomb, thought to have been sent by agents of the apartheid regime, blew up as she opened it.

Lithuanian-born Slovo became the first white member of the African National Congress executive in 1985 and general secretary of the South African Communist Party the following year.

Mandela appointed him minister for housing in 1994, but he was by then seriously ill with leukaemia. He died in 1995.

Mandela served as president for one term, from 1994 to 1999, retiring from active South African politics. He has continued to play a role in conflict resolution in Africa. - Sapa-DPA