Nelson Mandela’s famous shirts, belongings up for auction


The family of late South African president Nelson Mandela is selling the anti-apartheid leader’s personal belongings to help pay for a memorial garden being built in his honour.

Among the roughly 100 items are the colorful patterned Madiba shirts he wore on formal occasions, including to meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 1998 and 2003.

These shirts “brought joy to the great leader” and set him apart from other politicians, said Arlan Ettinger, president of New York-based auction house Guernsey’s, which will host a live and online auction on December 11.


Gifts from former United States of America president Barack Obama and other heads of state, as well as Mandela’s 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 age 95 at home in Johannesburg.

Items that showcase Mandela’s family life will be saved for the memorial space.

Makaziwe Mandela said her father wanted to generate tourism on the Eastern Cape, where he was born, and said she feels a responsibility to make that happen.


“When people come and visit they have to actually deal with their own issues that they have, not just in terms of racism, but also personal issues,” she said.

“When they finish walking the garden they should actually have a sense of what lesson can I take from Nelson Mandela’s life that I take home with me.”

Phase one of the site has been completed.

Ten shirts in the sale are on display at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum for three weeks, as a way to educate and inspire diverse audiences and students, said Patricia Mears, deputy director of the museum.— Reuters

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