The family of the late South African President Nelson Mandela are selling the anti-apartheid leader’s personal belongings to help pay for the construction of a memorial garden in his honor. Among the 100 or so items are the colorful patterns
Madiba shirts he wore on formal occasions, most notably to meet Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1998 and 2003.
These shirts “brought joy to the great leader” and set him apart from other politicians, said Arlan Ettinger, chairman of
New York-based auction house Guernsey’s, which will host a live and online auction on December 11.
Gifts from former US President Barack Obama and other heads of state, as well as glasses, briefcases and
pants, are also on sale to fund the Nelson Mandela Freedom Garden in Qunu, South Africa, where he is buried. He died in 2013 at the age of 95 at his home in Johannesburg. The artefacts that showcase Mandela’s family life will be kept for the memorial area. Makaziwe Mandela said her father wanted to generate tourism in the Eastern Cape, where he was born, and said she felt responsible for doing so.
“When people come to visit us, they actually have to deal with their own issues, not just in terms of racism,
but also personal problems, ”she said. “When they are done walking in the garden, they should have some idea of the lesson I can learn from the life of Nelson Mandela and take home. The first phase of the work is completed.
Ten shirts for sale are on display at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology museum for three weeks, as
way to educate and inspire diverse audiences and students, said Patricia Mears, deputy director of the museum. Madiba shirts, named after the name of Mandela’s Xhosa clan, are similar to the loose batik shirts worn in Indonesia and Malaysia.
He received one from former Indonesian President Suharto in 1990 after his release from prison, where he was held for 27 years for fighting to end apartheid.
“Madiba shirts are more than a fashion statement. They are about our entire world, the way we see the world, the way we want to advance our society and our cultures, ”Mears said.
And again, this is a statement far beyond simple personal improvement. That says something about how we can change the world through dress. The auction includes a four-page letter Mandela wrote in 1976 while imprisoned on Robben Island. You can see how patiently he wrote this. And then here’s the hallmark of Robben Island Prison. The letter was written to the Commander of Robben Island Prison.
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