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Mandela retires 'for real'
Former South African president Nelson Mandela announced his retirement from public life on Tuesday.

Former President Nelson Mandela announced his retirement from public life on Tuesday, saying he was "retiring from retirement".

"I'm turning 86 in a few week's time and that's a longer life than most people are granted."

"I have the added blessing of being in very good health, at least according to my doctors. I'm confident that nobody present here today will accuse me of selfishness if I asked to spend time, while I'm still in good heath, with my family, my friends and also with myself."

He said that he missed reading, thinking and quiet reflection after his release from Robben Island and would now do these things and work on his memoirs.

Mandela would not hide away totally, but "don't call me, I'll call you".

The ex-president said the work of the three legacy organisations, the Nelson Mandela Fund, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Mandela/Rhodes Fund would continue.

Mandela said he would now be retiring "for real".

"I hope you will allow me to rest..."

Asked what his emotions were he said: "... Seeing so many young ladies here..." a comment that was met with laughter and applause.

"It is nice to have billionaires clapping for me," he said, referring to the audience that included Johan Rupert, Tokyo Sexwale and Judge Kathy Satchwell. - Sapa