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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Jail diaries returned to Mandela
Nelson Mandela receiving the notebooks from Donald Card
Nelson Mandela takes the journals from ex-policeman Donald Card
Two notebooks confiscated from former South African president Nelson Mandela during his long imprisonment have been returned to him.

The apartheid-era journals contain the drafts of letters Mr Mandela wrote from his prison cell between 1969 and 1971.

They were handed back by former policeman Donald Card at a ceremony marking the inauguration of an archive of Mr Mandela's life.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in prison for opposing the apartheid administration.

The notebooks date from his incarceration on the infamous Robben Island penal colony.

'Too much forgetting'

Mr Card was one of the policemen who gave evidence against Mr Mandela and his fellow accused when they were tried for sabotage in 1964.

He said he had waited 33 years to return the notebooks, which he acquired in 1971 when he was employed to inspect political prisoners' belongings.

At the ceremony, Mr Mandela thanked him, saying, "What you have just witnessed could be described as one old man giving another old man two old notebooks."

He said the notebooks were "more than just the working documents of a prisoner" and represented "the hope that we can recover memories and stories suppressed by the apartheid regime".

"The history of our country is characterised by too much forgetting," Mr Mandela said, adding that his advancing age - he is now 86 years old - had "forced him to make friends with forgetting".

The notebooks are now owned by a new online archive of the Nobel prizewinner's struggle against apartheid, www.nelsonmandela.org.

Mr Mandela appealed to others who had worked for the South African authorities of the time to come forward with any valuable documents and mementoes they might still own.




SEE ALSO:
Profile: Nelson Mandela
01 Jun 04  |  Africa
Mandela in quotes
23 Sep 04  |  Africa
Mandela's low-key 86th birthday
18 Jul 04  |  Africa
Mandela 'to lead quieter life'
01 Jun 04  |  Africa


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