Mar. 27 (GIN) – A digital archive of Nelson Mandela’s life and times has been launched on the internet, with thanks to a gift from the internet firm Google.

The archive is housed at Johannesburg’s Centre of Memory. Almost 2,000 entries have been made available for scholars and researchers, covering most of Nelson Mandela’s life, including a 1952 photo at his law office.

“The Mandela Digital Archive Project shows how the Internet can help preserve historical heritage and make it available to the world,” Steve Crossan, director of the Google Cultural Institute, said Tuesday.

Images of the cell on Robben Island, near Cape Town, in which he spent many of his 27 years in jail are among the material stored on the archive.

The plan was announced a year ago with $1.25 million in funds from Google.

It also includes thousands of handwritten documents such as church membership cards from 1929, notes on political negotiations, and what appears to be a draft of a 1995 letter to a young admirer about Valentine’s Day.

While Google helped assemble the collection online, staff at the centre determined what content to show and how it is presented, the centre’s Verne Harris said. To see the collection, go to