Heritage agency supported by arts department seeks appeal to prevent sale of Madiba’s personal belongings

The South African Heritage Resources Agency says it is forging ahead with its legal battle against Makaziwe Mandela over some of Madiba’s belongings. File photo.
Image: Mandela Family

‘It is important that we preserve the legacy of former President Mandela and ensure his life’s work and experiences remain in the country’‚ says Zizi Kodwa.

The dust has not settled in a legal battle over former president Nelson Mandela’s belongings between his daughter Makaziwe Mandela and the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra) as the organisation seeks to appeal a judgment.

An auction it set to take place online for the sale of the former president’s items.
Despite acting judge in the high court in Pretoria Vuyani Ngalwana having labelled the agency’s case as a “hail Mary exercise” [meaning it has a small chance of success] in the judgment which favoured Makaziwe‚ the agency‚ supported by the ministry of sport arts and culture‚ Zizi Kodwa‚ filed for an appeal three weeks ago.

The auction goes ahead‚ as the court has not yet granted the appeal‚ according to the agency.

“The application is pending before the high court. Sahra‚ the department and the Robben Island Museum are urgently assessing the lawfulness and implications of the impending auction and considering all available remedies‚” the agency stated when reacting to the announcement about the auction.

Kodwa has shown support for the appeal‚ saying it was key in “maintaining the country’s rich heritage”.

“Former president Nelson Mandela is integral to South Africa’s heritage. His life‚ experiences and legacy live in our consciousness and in the values we promote as a country. It is thus important that we preserve the legacy of former president Mandela and ensure his life’s work and experiences remain in the country for generations to come‚” he said.

“It is important for us to record and tell our stories to deepen our heritage. The legacy of former president Mandela‚ and many others who contributed to get South Africa to where it is today as a free‚ democratic‚ and culturally diverse nation‚ cannot be forgotten. It is therefore critical to support the intervention by Sahra for the sake of maintaining the country’s rich heritage.”

International auction company Guernsey’s announced the sale of 70 items belonging to Madiba would take place on February 22. The auction has been set after Makaziwe and Mandela’s former prison warder David Parr won a two-year legal battle against Sahra‚ which attempted to stop the sale.

The agency argued 29 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.

Items to be sold in the auction include Mandela’s identity document issued in 1993‚ letters from prison‚ his walking stick‚ drawings he sketched while in jail‚ a gift from former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle and other gifts he received.

According to Guernsey’s‚ the money from the auction would be used to build a memorial garden at Mandela’s grave site in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Guernsey’s said: “Importantly‚ proceeds from the event will be used for the building of the Mandela memorial garden surrounding former president Mandela’s Qunu final resting place. For those who lived through Nelson Mandela’s remarkable struggle for freedom‚ and for future generations‚ the garden will serve as an inspirational reminder of a man whose life impacted us all.”

Source: ARENA Holdings.