US auction house Guernsey has postponed a planned auction of the key to the dungeon in which Nelson Mandela was held. The reason for this on their website is an investigation by the South African authorities that deal with the preservation of cultural heritage.
The auction announcement last month sparked an outcry in South Africa. The state said it was incomprehensible that the auction house was cooperating in the sale of the historic piece, which was supposed to be a masterpiece offered at auction on January 28.
The South African Ministry of Culture believes that the key should be brought to South Africa because of its historical value. 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.
According to the auction house’s leading man, one of Mandela’s daughters would have approved the auction. The proceeds will be used to plant a memorial garden in the South African village of Kono, where Mandela is buried.
Mandela is considered a national hero in South Africa. As an activist, he opposed the apartheid regime in his country, where apartheid was practiced. The former president passed away in 2013 at the age of 95.
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