NEW YORK, October 14 (Reuters) – The family of the late South African President Nelson Mandela are selling the anti-apartheid leader’s belongings to help pay for the construction of a memorial garden in his honor.
Among the 100 or so items are the colorfully patterned Madiba shirts he wore on formal occasions, including meeting 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 hold a live and online auction on the 11th. December.
Gifts from former US President Barack Obama and other heads of state, along with Mandela’s glasses, briefcases and pants, are also on sale to fund the Nelson Mandela Freedom Garden in Qunu, Africa from the South, where he is buried. He died in 2013 at the age of 95 at his home in Johannesburg.
Objects that showcase Mandela’s family life will be kept for the commemorative space.
Dr 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.
âWhen people come to visit us, they actually have to face their own issues, not just in terms of racism, but also personal issues,â she said.
“When they are done walking in the garden, they should have some idea of ââthe lesson I can learn from the life of Nelson Mandela as I bring home.”
The first phase of the site has been completed.
Ten shirts from the sale are on display at the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for three weeks, to educate and inspire various 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.
âMadiba shirts are more than a fashion statement. They are about our entire world, our worldview, how we want to advance our society and our cultures,â said Mears.
“And again, this is a statement far beyond simple personal improvement. It 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 is the stamp of Robben Island Prison. The letter was written to the Commander of Robben Island Prison.”
Reporting by Alicia Powell; Editing by Richard Chang
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