Auction to sell Mandela’s personal items suspended

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A controversial auction of about 70 personal items of South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela – including his hearing aids, walking sticks, and reading glasses – has been suspended.

New York-based Guernsey’s auction house wrote on its website “Mandela, The Auction SUSPENDED”, without giving a reason, but it follows an outcry in South Africa.

Mr Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, planned to sell the items at an auction on 22 February, saying she wanted to use the money to build a memorial garden in his honour, near his burial site.

The state’s South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) challenged her decision in court, but lost the case.

It said it would appeal against the ruling.

South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa said that blocking the sale was necessary as Mr Mandela “is integral to South Africa’s heritage”.

“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,” he said.

Mr Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba, was quoted by local media as saying he too was opposed to the auction.

Mr Mandela’s ID book was also among the items listed for slae.

“Who sells their father’s ID book? That’s insane. You’re robbing South Africa of its heritage.” he told News24.

Mr Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.

He was imprisoned for nearly 30 years for fighting white-minority rule, and became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down five years later.

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