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Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
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South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela was reunited on Tuesday with two notebooks that were confiscated from him while in prison as he launched a memorial centre on his decades of struggle for freedom.
Retired police officer Donald Card presented the former president with the two black-jacketed notebooks that he used to scribble down his thoughts while serving his prison term on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town.
"What you have just witnessed could be described as one old man giving another old man two old books," said Mandela in jest as he accepted the books that were taken from him in the 1970s.
Mandela was jailed on Robben Island for 18 years before being transferred in 1982 to Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town and later to nearby Paarl, serving a total of 27 years in prison for anti-apartheid activities.
He was released in February 1990 and became South Africa's first black president four years later.
The two notebooks were the first acquisition by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Commemoration, the web-based archives on Mandela's life, available at Nelsonmandela.org.
Mandela, who turned 86 in July, said the two notebooks "were more than just the working documents of a prisoner".
"They represent the hope that we can recover memories and stories suppressed by the apartheid regime," said Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize-winner. -- Sapa-AFP