mandela cell door drawing

Photo: Bonhams

Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island drawing to go on auction [picture]

A rare drawing by Nelson Mandela, of his cell door in Robben Island, will go on auction in the US in May.

mandela cell door drawing

Photo: Bonhams

A drawing by late South African leader Nelson Mandela of the door of his prison cell on Robben Island – where he was held for 18 years – will be put up for auction in early May in New York.

Mandela drew the picture back in 2002 and kept it with him until his death in 2013.

The wax pastel crayon drawing shows a few bars of the cell door and a key in the lock, sketched in purple.

Mandela was jailed for 27 years in total and inspired the struggle against apartheid.

The cost of Mandela’s art and auction date

Bonhams, which will host the sale on 2 May 2019, has put the value of “The Cell Door, Robben Island” at $60 000 to $90 000.

The work will be part of a sale of modern and contemporary African art.

“The word ‘iconic’ is so overused but to have a drawing of one of the most important men of the 20th century… would be a remarkable thing,” Giles Peppiatt, the auction house’s director of modern African art, told AFP.

“It’s the first time this work has ever been exhibited in public. It’s also the first work by Nelson Mandela ever to be sold in the open market.”

“It was a very personal, very poignant work for him,” Peppiatt said, explaining that Mandela embraced art as a hobby after leaving South Africa’s presidency in 1999.

“He had more time on his hands,” he said.

Until now, Mandela’s daughter Pumla Makaziwe Mandela had the work in her possession.

Picture of Mandela’s drawing to be auctioned

nelson mandela pirsondrawings
A worker at Bonhams auction house holds a sketch by Nelson Mandela – “The Cell Door, Robben Island” – in New York, where it will go up for sale on 2 May 2019. Photo: AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE

South Africa’s first black president did a total of 20 to 25 drawings, according to Peppiatt. Some were reproduced as lithographs to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mandela was jailed from 1962 to 1990. He was held at Robben Island off Cape Town from 1964 to 1982. Mandela served as South African president from 1994 to 1999.