The sale of late Nelson Mandela’s belongings has been canceled. The sale of many artifacts from the former South African president’s personal collection in New York has been prevented by his countrymen, who have said that certain of Mandella’s properties belong to the people of South Africa.
The online auction titled “Important Artifacts from the Life of Nelson Mandela” was set for Jan. 28, according to Art-Net.
Makaziwe Mandela-Amuah, his daughter, requested Guernsey to conduct the auction.
She and other members of the freedom fighter’s family had hoped to kick off the bidding process, which was set to begin at $250,000, with a goal of raising $5 million to fund a 24-acre memorial garden and museum devoted to his life and activism near his burial place.
The South African Heritage Resources Agency, on the other hand, claims that the permits required for some of the items in the sale were never filed. Those objects listed in the sale could not legally be included in the Guernsey auction in New York City at the end of the month without this filing.
The key to Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island, which he occupied for 18 of his 27 years in prison, was one of the artifacts in the 33-lot sale that the agency objected to.
The sale of the key particularly offended South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa.
“It is unfathomable for Guernsey’s, which is clearly aware of our country’s painful history and the symbolism of the key, to consider auctioning the key without any consultation with the South African government, the heritage authorities in South Africa, and the Robben Island Museum,” he said when the news was announced.
“This key belongs to the South African people and is in the custody of the Robben Island Museum and the South African government.” “It isn’t anyone’s personal property,” Mthethwa explained.
“The key represents the triumph of the human spirit over evil while also symbolizing South Africa’s tragic history,” he concluded.
“This key is living proof of South Africa’s long journey to freedom and belongs to the South African people,” he continued. “As a result, it must be properly returned to the country.”
According to Arlan Ettinger, the owner of the auction company, a prison guard named Christo Brand, who subsequently became good friends with Mandela, owned the prison assets, according to an interview on CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s SiriusXM program. In addition to the key, Brand had an exercise bike and a tennis racquet that he put for auction, both of which were used by Mandela while he was imprisoned.
Other products that would have been available for purchase are less contentious.
Paintings and free-hand drawings, such as one of Robben Island’s lighthouse and a black-and-white charcoal sketch of a chain being snapped, are among the selections. A bronze cast of his fist and a signed handprint are also included in the sale.
Gifts from American heads of state were up for grabs, according to Page Six, which stated that gifts from US Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were included in the auction. Obama and Michelle Obama presented Mandela with a blanket.
This isn’t the first time a Mandela sale has been canceled. A South African charity offered the highest bidder the chance to spend the night in his Robben Island prison cell in 2018. Following public criticism, CEO SleepOut trustees apologized and stated they didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.
His legacy is enormous. For most of his life, he battled against the segregationist apartheid system. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, and in 1994, he was elected as South Africa’s first Black president. His moniker, Madiba, is still remembered as one of the most iconic advocates for equality in world history.