Source: Global Information Network - Photo: 2024

Auction of Mandela’s Belongings Slated for February

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 29 January 2024 (IDN) — Some 70 treasured belongings of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela are slated to travel to New York next month for an auction sale that sparked a firestorm between his eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela-Amuah, his son and South Africa’s Heritage and Resource Agency (SAHRA).

The New York auction is set for February 22 but the Guernsey Auction House online announcement now carries the message “Suspended.”

Items up for auction include dozens of personal items, estimated at a collective value of $2 to $3 million.

According to an ad placed by Guernsey Auction House, the property includes “nearly one hundred treasured items—objects that in one way or another played a role in “Madiba’s life – will be presented at unreserved auction…. Never offered before, these objects are coming directly from the Mandela family.”

Among the items are Mandela’s 1993 South African Identification book, his famous green fern-patterned “Madiba” shirt, his iconic aviator sunglasses, a gifted blanket from former President Barack Obama, sculptures, personal letters written by Mandela and even his hearing aids.

Proceeds are set to go to the construction of the Mandela Memorial Garden surrounding his final resting place. in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu, according to Mandela’s daughter, where her father grew up and was buried.

“It is my wish that before I close my eyes on nature, I will honor my father with a memorial garden,” said Makaziwe Mandela in an interview with the New York Times. “That’s what my father would want.”

But Ndaba Mandela, Nelson’s grandson, didn’t agree. ‘Who sells their father’s ID?’ Ndaba demanded to know as he slammed his aunt’s plans to auction Madiba’s ID and other items.

The sale was initially canceled but this December, a three-judge panel of the high court in Pretoria sided with Mandela’s daughter, calling the SA Heritage Agency’s interpretation of heritage objects “overbroad.”

South Africa’s Minister of Culture Zizi Kodwa echoed some of the concerns raised by SAHRA.

“Former President Mandela is integral to South Africa’s heritage,” said Minister Kodwa. “His life, experiences and legacy live in our consciousness and in the values we promote as a country… It is thus important that we preserve the legacy of former President Mandela and ensure that his life’s work and experiences remain in the country for generations to come.”

A similar trove of items were auctioned off last year by Guernsey in a sale called African American Historical and Cultural Artifacts that consisted of thousands of objects tracing the African American experience from the Revolutionary War and the beginnings of slavery on through the Civil Rights Movement and today’s Black Lives Matter.

For now, according to the auction house online, interested bidders are encouraged to contact Guernsey’s in New York at 212-794-2280 or via email at and/or register for online bidding at or where the full auction catalogue will be posted one month before the January 28. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Image source: Global Information Network

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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