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Nelson Mandela's personal artefacts go on show in London

Former South African president’s letters to family and Robben Island sleeping mat form part of exhibition

On 1 June 1970, Nelson Mandela wrote a letter to his young daughters Zeni and Zindzi from his prison cell on Robben Island. “My darlings,” he wrote. “It is more than eight years since I last saw you …”

The girls’ mother Winnie had also been imprisoned the previous year, and their father had no idea, he wrote, who was looking after them in the school holidays, who fed them, bought them clothing or paid their school fees. He had written two letters to the pre-teenage girls the previous year, he told them, but had learned neither had reached them.

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