Mandela Centre of Memory open to public

Items such as handwritten notes and photographs are on display.

Former President Nelson Mandela. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton has opened its doors to the public for the first time.

The announcement follows the death of the revered statesman at his Houghton home in northern Johannesburg just before 9pm on Thursday night.

From old handwritten notes that were smuggled into Robben Island, to Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves and honours from the Queen, visitors will be able to experience the global icon's historical journey from prisoner to president.

CEO Sello Hatang said among the items on display is a duplicated version of Mandela's cell at Robben Island.

"It is made of glass so you can get a sense of the dimensions."

Letters Mandela received while on Robben Island as well as the books he read are also on display.

Madiba's office with his personal effects, desk and special photos has been kept just the way he left it.

The last time Mandela sat in his office was in November 2010.

It was a place he loved to read, relax and reflect.