Flag at President Mandela`s inauguration saved from auction

Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 21:56

London: The flag which flew at Nelson
Mandela`s inauguration as the first black president of South
Africa in 1994, will not go under the hammer and return to the
country.

The historic flag, signed by the three South African
presidents -- Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and F W de Klerk,
will be bought by a London-based South African businessman,
who wished not be named, after an agreement with auctioneer
Bonhams in London.
The flag, that was flown at the historic presidential
inauguration on May 10, 1994, will be bought by the anonymous
philanthropist for an undisclosed amount on the understanding
that it would be returned to South Africa and handed over to
the government.

Giles Peppiatt, Director of South African Art at
Bonhams, said: "This is the happiest possible outcome for the
flag. We are delighted to have been able to arrange a deal
with this patriotic South African who was determined to see
the flag return to where it best belongs."

The flag signifies a crucial moment in South Africa`s
turbulent history, when the country`s first black president
took the charge after more than three centuries of white rule
and subsequent anti-apartheid movement.

President Mandela`s African National Congress (ANC) party
won 252 of the 400 seats in the first democratic elections of
South Africa`s history. A moment celebration both in the
country and abroad, it was also a period of some apprehension
of what the future would hold.
The inauguration ceremony took place in the Union
Buildings amphitheatre in Pretoria and was attended by
politicians and dignitaries from more than 140 countries
around the world.

Jubilant scenes on the streets of Pretoria followed the
ceremony with more than 100,000 South African men, women and
children of all races singing and dancing with joy.

President Mandela, flanked by first Deputy President
Thabo Mbeki and Second Deputy president F W de Klerk, appeared
on Botha Lawn beneath the Union Buildings, said; "we saw
our country tear itself apart in terrible conflict... The time
for healing of wounds has come... Never, Never again will this
beautiful land experience the oppression of one by another."

Urging forgiveness from the crowd, he said in Afrikaans:
"Wat is verby verby" meaning what is past is past".

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 21:56

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