Gramadoelas guestbook sold to museum for R200 000

2014-05-15 13:43

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The guestbook of the renowned Gramadoelas restaurant in Johannesburg has been sold to a museum for R200 000, an auctioneer has said.

“It has been sold to the Peacemakers Museum in Mandela Square, so it will be put on display at some point to the public,” Stephan Welz & Company’s Savo Tufegdzic said today.

“I’m very happy about that because if it went to a private collector we may not have seen it again. A private collector could have broken it up and kept the signatures he/she wanted and thrown the others away.”

He said the museum would keep the book as it was.

“People will go there and even look for their own signatures and that is unique.”

The guestbook contains seven volumes with the remarks and signatures of a long list of local and international celebrities, politicians and royals.

It was auctioned off last night and was initially expected to sell for about R250 000.

Tufegdzic said people had written in the book since the opening of the restaurant in 1967.

“Some people signed it, some drew sketches and others wrote poems. It’s something you have to see for yourself. It cannot be explained.”

Well-known people who had written in or signed it included Nelson Mandela, former ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu, British businessman Sir Richard Branson, former US president Bill Clinton, former South African president FW de Klerk, actors Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Charlize Theron, musicians Lucky Dube, Brenda Fassie and Stevie Wonder, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Gramadoelas was established in 1967 in a basement garage in Hillbrow by Brian Shalkoff and his life partner, Eduan Naude. It later moved to Joubert Park and then to the Market Theatre in Newtown.

It served traditional South African cuisine and was frequented by many local and international stars.

In May last year, Shalkoff was assaulted in his home near Hillbrow during a robbery. Laptops, cellphones and cash were taken. Shalkoff died of his injuries in hospital on July 1.

Naude subsequently closed the restaurant.

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