Ndaba Mandela Criticizes Auction of Nelson Mandela's Personal Items


Ndaba Mandela Criticizes Auction of Nelson Mandela's Personal Items, Calls It a Disgrace

Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, has expressed his strong opposition to his aunt Makaziwe's decision to auction off the personal belongings of the former president. He believes that this move not only deprives his family but also the nation of their valuable heritage.

The auction, organized by Guernsey's, is scheduled for Monday following a court ruling that cleared the path for the sale of nearly 100 items associated with the iconic statesman. These items include Mandela's identity book, shoes, shirts, glasses, and even his hearing aids.

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Ndaba condemned the auction, stating that it would rob the children of South Africa of the opportunity to connect with Mandela's origins and way of life. He expressed his strong disapproval, referring to the auction as a disgrace.

In Ndaba's view, the items should be preserved in a museum where people can visit and learn from them. He suggested that visitors would willingly pay to see these items, providing perpetual revenue while safeguarding South Africa's heritage.

The South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) had sought an interdict to prevent Makaziwe Mandela, Mandela's eldest daughter, from selling these personal belongings. However, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed Sahra's application.

News24 was unable to reach Makaziwe Mandela for comment, and Sahra spokesperson Yazeed Sadien stated that certain items under auction were still subject to ongoing legal proceedings. The agency remains committed to challenging the auction.

Ndaba recalled a similar auction two years ago, which also involved Makaziwe and Guernsey's. He claimed that 22 items on auction had been unlawfully taken from Mandela's residence.

Previously, Ndaba had filed a case against Makaziwe, alleging that the items she intended to sell in the previous auction, claiming they were hers, had been stolen from the Mandela home. The case remains unresolved.

During the recent legal dispute with Sahra, Makaziwe argued that the items up for sale were her personal property and not listed in the heritage agency's database.

Ndaba expressed his frustration at being unable to launch a legal challenge against the current auction due to his absence from the country. He announced his intention, along with his cousins, to write an open letter expressing their disappointment with the justice system.

Ndaba emphasized the importance of preventing the sale, questioning why a judge would allow the auction of such significant national heritage. He firmly declared that they cannot allow this situation to persist.


In the auction catalogue, Mandela's sole legitimate South African ID from 1993 carries an estimated price tag of $75,000 (R1.4 million). The sale has faced scrutiny, with family members denying agreed plans for the garden exist.

Auctioneers Guernsey's described architectural designs for an "inspirational, inviting setting…surrounding the burial site." They mention ground preparation soon for additional on-site structures like a welcome center and museum.

However, Mandela's grandson disputes the narrative, saying "That story about the garden, that's rubbish. We've seen the plans, but we have not agreed on the plans."

Provincial heritage and arts departments profess unawareness of any garden project. While alterations to graves of important figures require authorization, the family has not engaged regulatory bodies.

Questions linger around use of auction profits amid conflicting claims and lack of approval for memorial plans from stakeholders tasked with cultural heritage protection.

Clarification is needed on project details and community consultation, as protecting Mandela's legacy demands transparency and adherence to regulatory process over disputed motivations for auctioning his private keepsakes.

As of the time of publication, the Nelson Mandela Foundation had not responded to requests for comment.

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