The book, a copy of the complete works of Shakespeare which was disguised as a Bible so that it could be passed amongst ANC prisoners on Robben Island, will take pride of place in the Mitchell Library for the next three months.
It has been loaned to the city, which has always had a strong relationship with the Mandela family, by Sonny Venkatrathnam, who was also a Robben Island prisoner.
Mr Venkatrathnam kept the volume, disguised with Diwali cards, in his cell. He told guards it was his Bible to prevent it being seized.
He later asked his 33 fellow political prisoners to each sign a passage that meant a lot to them.
The book bears Mr Mandela's signature, dated December 16, 1977, alongside an underlined passage from the play Julius Caesar.
This is the first time the artefact has been displayed in Scotland.
The legacy of anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela, who died in December at the age of 95, is celebrated every year on his birthday, July 18.