Nelson Mandela's items including ID and the famous Madiba shirts listed for auction in February 2024

By Neo Poho

Former President Nelson Mandela's identity document, personal drawings, famous shirts and treasured gifts are some of former his personal items set to be auctioned next month.

The auction will go ahead after Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela won a two-year legal battle against the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) which attempted to stop the sale.

While the sale was initially set for the 28th of January 2022 but was halted due to the legal challenge, SAHRA argued 29 of the items belonging to Mandela were heritage objects and asked the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to order Makaziwe to return them to South Africa.

In December the court dismissed SAHRA's application for an interdict saying there was little evidence to support the allegation the items were heritage objects as envisaged in the Heritage Act.

New York-based auction company Guernsey's has now set the 22nd of February 2024 as the date for the sale of 70 items belonging to Mandela.

These include Mandela’s ID issued in 1993, letters from prison, his walking stick, drawings he sketched while in prison, a gift from former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle and many other gifts he received. 

The auction house has estimated the collective value of the 70 lots to be between $2 million and $3 million.

Makaziwe, who holds a doctorate in anthropology, has authorized the auction as a fund-raiser for the building of the Mandela Memorial Garden, which is planned for 24 acres in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu, where her father grew up and was buried.

In a video interview from Johannesburg, Makaziwe said her father had made clear that he wanted to be buried where he came from, among his ancestors and also wanted that region, formerly known as the Transkei, to benefit economically from tourism.

"It is my wish, that before I close my eyes on nature, I will honor my father with a memorial garden,” she said. “That’s what my father would want.”

Leomile Mofutsanyana, a heritage officer with the South African Heritage Resources Agency said in an email that the agency had no comment on the matter, adding that "all official statements will be widely communicated in due course.”

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Nelson Mandela

South Africa

Makaziwe Mandela


Madiba Shirts



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