South Africa is outraged by the planned auction of a cell key on Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela resided. The historic item is being sold by a former keeper. South Africa finds it incomprehensible that the Guernsey auction house would cooperate.
The key is the masterpiece auction scheduled for January 28. The item was reportedly sold by a former prison guard, Christo Brand. It concerns the key to a prison cell on Robben Island, where Mandela was held for years.
More Mandela’s personal items will be auctioned off. They were provided by his family. 33 items, including one of his colorful T-shirts, gifts from former US Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, signed objects and artwork.
Museum and garden
The proceeds are intended to build a museum and build a memorial garden at his grave. Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makazui Mandela-Umoah, asked Guernsey to organize an auction for this. “We are honored to be able to sell so many items from the Mandela family to help them build the park,” said Arlan Ettinger, Guernsey’s Director.
South Africa’s culture minister, Nathi Methwa, said the Guernsey auction house was aware of his country’s painful history and “the symbolic value of the key”. He finds it incomprehensible that the key is being auctioned off on Robben Island without consultation with the government and the museum. This key belongs to the people of South Africa. “It is not anyone’s personal property,” said Mithwa.
The key to his former cell is one of three things Christo Brand has offered for sale. The others are a draft of the South African constitution that Mandela wrote to Brand and an exercise bike that Mandela used.
The key has been in the brand’s possession for many years and is on international display. Mandela’s daughter agreed to the sale and a portion of the proceeds would go to the garden fund, Ettinger says.
The worst and the best
“The key symbolizes the worst and the best of humanity,” Ettinger said. “The key imprisoned Mr. Mandela for his opposition to racial oppression. He was also released by the key. The prisoner became President of South Africa. He became an inspiration to millions of people around the world.”
The minister is not going to let it go. He says he will take action to stop the key auction. “The key must be returned to its rightful owners with immediate effect and this auction must be stopped.”
Former President Mandela is seen as a national hero in South Africa. As an activist, he opposed the apartheid regime in his country, where apartheid was practiced. Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.
Watch our news videos in the playlist below:
Unlimited free access to Showbytes? And that can!
Sign in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
“Professional reader. Award-winning gamer. Zombie buff. Social media junkie. Bacon maven. Web scholar.”