South Africa delivers Mandela commemorative stamp

The South African Post Office newly released Nelson Mandela commemorative stamp is presented at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on Feb 11, 2014. South Africa issued a black-and-white commemorative stamp on Tuesday to celebrate the
The South African Post Office newly released Nelson Mandela commemorative stamp is presented at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on Feb 11, 2014. South Africa issued a black-and-white commemorative stamp on Tuesday to celebrate the life and legacy of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who died last year. -- PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South Africa issued a black-and-white commemorative stamp on Tuesday to celebrate the life and legacy of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who died last year.

The souvenir stamp, which captures a greying and smiling Mandela, was launched on the 24th anniversary of his release from nearly three decades in apartheid prisons.

The portrait of the father of South African democracy was taken a few years before his death on Dec 5 and the stamp commemorates his "life and legacy", according to the South African Post Office.

"It's just a picture of Mr Mandela and it shows him in advanced years... but it shows him as a wise person, which he was," said Johan van Wyk, a manager with the post office.

Five million stamps have been produced by a printing company in the Netherlands.

They can be ordered online or bought over the counter from all post offices in South Africa for 50 rand each (S$5.76).

Of the purchase price, two rand will be donated to his foundation, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

Mandela was an ardent letter-writer during his incarceration, despite the prospect of the letters being censored.

He walked free from prison on Feb 11, 1990, after 27 years behind bars before becoming South Africa's first black president in 1994.

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