The family of Nelson Mandela, the late South African president and anti-apartheid activist, is raising money to build a memorial park in his honor.
The bright Madiba shirts he wore to visit Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1998 and 2003 are among the approximately 100 pieces in the collection.
To Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s auction house in New York, these shirts “gave pleasure to the great leader” and distinguished him from other politicians. The live and online auction will take place on December 11 at Guernsey’s.
To help finance the Nelson Mandela Freedom Garden, which is located in his hometown of Qunu, South Africa, items from former U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are being auctioned off. He passed away at his Johannesburg home in 2013 at the age of 95.
Objects from Mandela’s home and family life will be kept for the monument.
As Dr. Makaziwe Mandela said, her father had hoped to boost tourism in the Eastern Cape, where he was born. She now believes it is her duty to see that this goal is achieved.
As a result of the visitors’ own problems, she says, she has to deal with prejudice, as well as personal concerns when they come to visit.
While traversing the garden, visitors should reflect on what lessons may be learned from the life of Nelson Mandela and apply them to their own lives.
The site’s first phase is now complete.
Patricia Mears, the museum’s deputy director, said that the ten shirts being sold would be on exhibit for three weeks at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology museum as a means to educate and inspire a variety of audiences and students.
The baggy batik shirts used in Indonesia and Malaysia are comparable to Madiba shirts, called after Mandela’s Xhosa clan name. After serving 27 years in jail for his activism to abolish apartheid in Indonesia, he was freed in 1990 and granted a presidential pardon by former Indonesian President Suharto.
“More than a fashion statement, the Madiba T-shirts serve an important purpose. Mears chimed in.
“Again, this is a message that goes well beyond just advocating self-improvement. It’s a statement about the power of fashion to affect social change.”
Among the items up for sale is a four-page letter written by Nelson Mandela when he was still imprisoned on Robben Island back in 1976.
“You can see he took his time with this. This is a stamp from Robben Island jail, just in case you’re curious. Robben Island Prison’s commanding commander was the intended recipient of the letter.”