Daughter to auction Nelson Mandela’s personal items, but South Africa not sold on it


Mandela’s daughter plans to auction items such as hearing aids, an ID card, and symbolic “Madiba” shirts in the United States

Items belonging to Nelson Mandela, including some of his trademark shirts, will be on auction in New York if the sale is not blocked.—AFP

South Africa is taking legal action to prevent the auction of 70 personal items belonging to Nelson Mandela, the iconic anti-apartheid leader, BBC reported. 

His daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, plans to auction items such as hearing aids, an ID card, and symbolic “Madiba” shirts in the United States. However, the South African government argues that these possessions belong to the nation and should not be taken out of the country, invoking national heritage laws.

The South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) has filed an appeal to block the sale, supported by the sport, arts, and culture ministry.

Minister Zizi Kodwa emphasises the importance of preserving Mandela’s legacy within South Africa, stating, “It is thus important that we preserve the legacy of former President Mandela and ensure that his life’s work experiences remain in the country for generations to come.”

The government had previously opposed the auction in 2021, leading to its cancellation and subsequent legal battles. While the High Court in Pretoria initially permitted Makaziwe Mandela to proceed with the sale, the government is now appealing this decision, claiming the items’ “unpermitted export for exhibition or sale.”

The auction is scheduled for January 22, with items already listed for sale by Guernsey’s auction house. The potential proceeds have stirred debate in South Africa, with some advocating for government intervention to preserve the “priceless” items, while others argue for the family’s discretion in the matter.



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