Govt wants SA flag up for auction

2010-02-04 11:12

THE South African government wants to keep the flag that was flown

at the inauguration ceremony of the country’s first democratically elected

president, Nelson Mandela, in 1994, set to be auctioned in London next


The country’s National Herald with the arts and culture department

– the position is held by Themba Mabaso – said he was alerted to the sale of the

flag yesterday.

“The government is interested in retaining those flags, but we are

still gathering information before taking further action. For now I am still

investigating, I just got the information yesterday,” said Mabaso.

He said it was a “piece of South African history”, therefore, the

government would naturally be interested in it.

The large flag, signed by Mandela and former presidents Thabo Mbeki

and FW de Klerk, was expected to fetch between £10?000 and £15?000 (between

R119?000 and R179?000), auctioneer Bonhams said yesterday.

It would be sold with a certificate of authenticity, dated April 10

1994, and signed by former president Mandela.

The flag was flown from a helicopter piloted by Major Louis de Waal

of the South African National Defence Force during Mandela’s inauguration at the

Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Spokesperson for Bonhams, Julian Roup, said the flag belonged to De

Waal. It was presented to him following the flight by the flight


De Waal then had it signed by Mandela and his two deputies, Mbeki

and De Klerk.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by politicians and

dignitaries from more than 140 countries across the world.

Mabaso said art work of national importance was meant to be offered

to the government and South Africans first before being taken offshore.

The flag is expected to be auctioned on March 24 in London at the

Bonhams South Africa Art Sale, which would also feature works by artists Gerard

Sekoto and Jacob Pierneef.

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