The controversial auction of approximately 70 personal items belonging to South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, such as his hearing aids, walking sticks, and reading glasses, has been halted.
Guernsey’s auction house, based in New York, announced on its website “Mandela, The Auction SUSPENDED” without providing a reason, following a public outcry in South Africa.
Makaziwe Mandela, Mr. Mandela’s eldest daughter, had intended to auction the items on February 22 to raise funds for a memorial garden in his honor near his burial site.
The South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) contested her decision in court but lost the case, expressing intentions to appeal the ruling.
South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa emphasized the importance of preserving Mr. Mandela’s legacy, stating that he is integral to the country’s heritage.
Mr. Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba, also voiced opposition to the auction, particularly regarding the sale of his grandfather’s ID book.
“Who sells their father’s ID book? That’s insane. You’re robbing South Africa of its heritage,” he told News24.
Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013 at the age of 95. He spent almost three decades in prison for his fight against white-minority rule before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down five years later.