Mandela will not be at launch of his latest book

The frail leader has retired from public life and rarely puts in any appearance.

The book, with a foreword by the US President Barack Obama, is "written in Madiba's own voice and offers readers a chance to spend time with South Africa's first democratically elected President," according to Nelson Mandela Foundation.

It was compiled by the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory and Dialogue.

"'Conversations with Myself' gives readers access to the private man behind the public figure from letters written in the darkest hours of Mandela's 27 years of imprisonment to the draft of an unfinished sequel to his autobiography 'Long Walk to Freedom'," the Foundation said.

Drawn from his personal archive of papers, speeches and conversations, Mandela reflects on a gamut of human emotions.

Among them he enunciates his years of heartache at missing his family while in prison and his wariness at becoming idolised.

The 92-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said he did not want to be remembered as a larger-than-life saint.

"One issue that deeply worried me in prison was the false image, I unwittingly projected to the outside world; of being regarded as a saint," he said in an excerpt printed in some South African and British newspapers ahead of the book's release.

Mandela's previous book "Long Walk to Freedom" is currently being made into a film by a leading South African- Indian filmmaker Anant Singh.

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