The South African Heritage Resources Agency’s (Sahra) bid to halt the auction of at least 70 items that belonged to the late iconic president, Nelson Mandela has made international news.
Guernsey’s auction house in New York plans to auction about 70 of Mandela’s items on February 22 as part of a fund-raising effort to support the establishment of a memorial garden near where the former president is buried.
This follows a two-year battle where Sahra went to court to try and block the sale of the items, describing them as heritage objects.
Among the 70 items planned to be auctioned, are Mandela’s 1993 original ID book, his aviator sunglasses and reading glasses, his famous “Madiba“ shirts, his walking sticks, briefcases, his silver goose tea set, his Robben Island tennis racket and his hearing aids.
Last month, the organisers of the planned sale, led by Mandela’s oldest daughter, Dr Makaziwe Mandela, won a court judgment after South African officials tried to block the sale of the items.
Sahra, with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and Robben Island Museum, then applied for leave to appeal the High Court judgment.
On Friday, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa said former president Mandela was integral to South Africa’s heritage and his life, experiences and legacy live in our consciousness and in the values we promote as a country.
“It is important for us to record and tell our stories to deepen our heritage. The legacy of former president Mandela, and many others who have contributed to get South Africa to where it is today as a free, democratic, and culturally diverse nation, cannot be forgotten. It is therefore critical to support the intervention by Sahra for the sake of maintaining the country’s rich heritage,” he said.