South African authorities announced on Tuesday the suspension of a controversial auction in New York featuring Nelson Mandela’s memorabilia. Jacaranda FM reports that the government intervened to block the sale, which included items like Mandela’s identity card and iconic shirts, listed by a US auction house in collaboration with Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe.
Originally scheduled for late February, Guernsey’s auction was put on hold after discussions with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). The agency deemed the suspension a responsible and considerate approach, allowing ongoing legal proceedings to conclude and allowing SAHRA to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Culture in South Africa filed an appeal to halt the sale, citing historical and cultural significance items. Guernsey’s, describing the auction as “remarkable” and “unprecedented,” included artefacts like clothing, writings, and gifts from US presidents, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Guernsey’s said that Makaziwe Mandela authorised the event as a fundraiser for a memorial garden near her father’s place in Qunu village.
On Tuesday, there was a message on the auction house’s website. It stated, “This auction has been suspended.”
Initially advertised in 2021, the auction was suspended in 2022 after SAHRA attempted to reclaim control over some items. Despite concerns being dismissed by South African judges in December, SAHRA and the culture ministry have applied for leave to appeal, pending a decision.
Guernsey’s president, Arlan Ettinger, previously mentioned that the artefacts were unlikely to hold cultural and historical significance and would probably end up “on shelves in a closet somewhere and… forgotten” rather than in a museum.
Picture: X / SABCNews_Radio
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