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A new look at Mandela's life
New information and pictures of former president Nelson Mandela, his life and his time in prison will be available to South Africa from November.

New information and pictures of former president Nelson Mandela, his life and his time in prison will be available to South Africa from November.

This was announced in Johannesburg on Thursday by Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Ramaphosa was speaking at the launch of three initiatives celebrating Mandela's life.

"We celebrate Madiba's life and we are using him and his wonderful life to celebrate what is so good about the country, about South Africa," said Ramaphosa.

The three initiatives are 'Izipho: Madiba's Gift', a publication called 'A Prisoner in the Garden' and a comic series.

'Izipho: Madiba's Gift' is a display of the gifts Mandela has received from people around the world since 1991.

"A prisoner serving 25 years in prison for armed robbery sent Madiba a gift every year. His gift is displayed together with gifts from other well-known people like Robert de Niro's father. Madiba keeps all of them," said Ramaphosa.

Speaking at the launch, Mandela said South Africa is a powerful symbol of reconciliation and hope in the world and the gifts and awards are an acknowledgement of that.

'A Prisoner in the Garden' will be an important book that every person should read, Ramaphosa said. The book, containing pictures never seen before, will be released in November.

A series of nine comics aimed at encouraging children to read will also be made available.

Ramaphosa said the initiatives are also aimed at keeping the memory of Mandela alive and to provide information about the former president to the youth.

He said the foundation is seeking to get to grips with what Mandela's legacy means to South Africans and to the world.

Mandela said: "Despite its title, this exhibition is not only about me, but about the people from around the world who have added something to my life."

Students aged between 19 and 22 who were involved in the production of the comic books said they were grateful for the opportunity to work on a Madiba project.

Ryna Qhaba, a graphic-design student, said: "It was an awesome experience and I am very grateful for it. I learnt a lot during the making of the comic, which covers a lot of Mandela's life that people don't know about."

Brett Raseleso, one of the illustrators, said it was "cool" to play around with images of Mandela.

"It's been cool playing around with Mandela, making his head bigger, playing around with his face. I could do what I wanted. It was lovely."

The launch of the three initiatives forms part of Madiba's 87th birthday celebrations taking place throughout this month.

"Historians and other experts on questions of time tell me that another birthday is close and that I am almost 100 years old," he said.

Mandela concluded: "We [the Nelson Mandela Foundation] have decided to launch these initiatives during this period and we are grateful to the foundation's Centre of Memory project for its help and for the important work it is doing in ensuring that our histories are not lost." -- Sapa