© Copyright: AFP
Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela in South Africa has been suspended from auctioning the keys to his locked room before becoming the country’s first black president, the auction house announced Friday.
The key to this room in the Robben Island prison where Mandela lived for 18 of the 27 years of apartheid was to be put up for sale on January 28 by the US auction house Guernsey.
The latter announced on its website that it was postponing the sale, in addition to which it was important that various objects related to Mandela be placed under the African Heritage Agency’s “pending checks” South (SAHRA).
SAHRA has called on Guernsey to “stop selling (…) because it considers it to have left South Africa without the necessary permits,” the company’s chairman told AFP by phone. Arlan Ettinger Auction Company.
South African Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa welcomed the decision to halt the sale.
“The key is to mark South Africa’s painful history, but also the victory of the human spirit over evil,” he said in a statement.
“This key is living proof of the long march of South Africans to independence and belongs to the South African people. As a result, it must legally return to the country.
In addition to the keys, the auction program included an assortment of items belonging to “Madiba” – Mandela’s nickname – including a logo shirt, sunglasses and protocol pens.
Proceeds from the sale will be used to build a memorial garden dedicated to Mandela in his hometown of his hometown.
Eddinger said one of Mandela’s daughters contacted his company and put the items – including the keys – up for auction.
Cristo Brand, Mandela’s former defender, formed a wonderful and lasting friendship with them.
He “returned the key to the authorities (…), but it was returned to him, and he kept it in a drawer for 30 years,” Eddinger explained, and the brand agreed to give it to him. The garden can be built.
“It hurts the Mandela family, it hurts us, but the government” does what it thinks is best. We do not agree with them, “he continued.
The AFP could not be reached for comment.