In a surprising turn of events, Guernsey’s auction house in New York has decided to halt the auction of around 70 personal items that once belonged to the revered anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela. The auction, which was titled “Mandela, The Auction SUSPENDED,” was abruptly suspended without providing a clear explanation for the sudden change in plans. This decision comes in the wake of significant public outcry, particularly within South Africa, where Mandela is held in the highest esteem.
Makaziwe Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter, had spearheaded the initiative to auction off items such as his hearing aids, walking sticks, and reading glasses on February 22nd. She intended to utilize the proceeds from the auction to establish a memorial garden near her father’s burial site, as a tribute to his enduring legacy. However, the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) contested Makaziwe’s decision in court, albeit unsuccessfully. Despite losing the case, Sahra has expressed its intention to appeal the ruling.
The decision to suspend the auction has garnered support from various quarters, including South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister, Zizi Kodwa. Minister Kodwa emphasized the importance of preserving Nelson Mandela’s legacy, stating that he is an integral part of South Africa’s heritage. He underscored the significance of ensuring that Mandela’s personal belongings and life experiences remain within the country’s borders for generations to come.
Adding to the chorus of dissent against the auction, Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba, voiced his opposition to the sale in statements made to local media outlets. His sentiments echo the broader sentiment among many South Africans who view the auction of Mandela’s items as a disservice to his memory and the values he stood for.
Nelson Mandela, a towering figure in the fight against apartheid, passed away in 2013 at the age of 95. His lifelong struggle against white-minority rule culminated in his historic presidency, marking a pivotal moment in South Africa’s history. Mandela’s unwavering commitment to justice and equality continues to inspire people around the world, making the preservation of his legacy a matter of utmost importance.