South Africa battling to block Nelson Mandela auction

The government of South Africa is battling to prevent the eldest daughter of the late former President Nelson Mandela from selling 70 items belonging to the beloved anti-apartheid leader.

Including an ID card, hearing aids, clothing, gifts from world leaders, and his iconic “Madiba” shirts, Makaziwe Mandela is trying to auction off the collection in the United States.

Leaders in South Africa argue that the items belong to their country, as, per South African law, items deemed to be of national heritage are prohibited from being taken from the nation, according to a report.

Thus, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, the nation’s governing body charged with protecting the nation’s culture and heritage, filed an appeal to prevent the auction from moving forward.

Stopping the sale is “for the sake of maintaining the country’s rich heritage,” Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa said. “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.”

South African officials have opposed the auction since it was announced in 2021, according to the report.


Should the government’s latest appeal to halt the sale fail, the auction will proceed later this year via Guernsey’s in New York City.

“When considering historic figures whose lives inspired the global population, the name Nelson Mandela will forever stand out,” a description of the auction reads. “To imagine actually owning an artifact touched by this great leader is almost unthinkable. One therefore has to conclude that Guernsey’s upcoming Nelson Mandela Auction will be nothing short of remarkable.”