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Mandela work gifted to toy museum

21 July 08 13:34 GMT

Toys fashioned by Nelson Mandela during a visit to a Soweto school have been gifted to Nuremberg's international toy museum - by a Stirling gallery.

The toys were given to former Stirling Smith trustee and anti-apartheid campaigner Janey Buchan by members of the African National Congress.

They were made with the Soweto pupils' help after Mr Mandela's release.

He had created many similar toys from scrap during his 27-year incarceration on Robben Island.

Ms Buchan, a former Labour MEP, campaigned against Mr Mandela's imprisonment and was friends with exiled members of the ANC who lived in the UK.

In the months following Mr Mandela's release from jail in 1990, Ms Buchan received the toys in the post.

She said: "A hefty crate was delivered to my door in Glasgow and, on opening it, I discovered six toys with a message saying 'She is to do what she likes with them'."

Ms Buchan gave two of the toys to the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh, two to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in the East End of London and two to the Stirling Smith.

She added: "These two are now leaving for Spielzeug Museum, Nuremberg, to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.

"The city has the most important collection of toys in the world, and are curators of the history of the world's toys."

The toys were handed over to Germany's Consul General Wolfgang Moessinger.

Speaking on his first official engagement as Consul General to Scotland, Mr Moessinger said: "Nelson Mandela would appreciate the spirit and togetherness between the two countries, and we will make sure that it is put in the right place to show our young people of the desperate situation that he faced."

The toys have been housed in the Nelson Mandela wing of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, which was opened in 1989.

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