President Mandela Inauguration Flag for Auction

The South African flag signed by South Africa’s three most recent presidents – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and F. W. de Klerk – which flew from a helicopter at the historic presidential inauguration on 10th May 1994, will be sold at Bonhams South African Art Sale in London on 24th March.

This key moment in South Africa’s turbulent history, the arrival of the country’s first black president after more than three centuries of white rule, was a moment of national and international celebration, and some local apprehension at what the future would hold for Afrikaners.

This historic flag is being sold with a certificate of authenticity signed by Nelson Mandela and dated 10/4/94. The massive flag measures155 x 230cm (61 x 90 9/16in) and is estimated to sell for £10,000-15,000.

The flag was flown above this key political ceremony in Pretoria from an Oryx helicopter piloted by Major Louis de Waal of the South African Air Force.

President Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) party won 252 of the 400 seats in the first democratic elections of South Africa’s history. 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.

There were jubilant scenes on the streets of Pretoria following the ceremony with more than 100,000 South African men, women and children of all races singing and dancing with joy. When the new president, flanked by First Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and Second Deputy President FW de Klerk, appeared on the Botha Lawn beneath the Union Buildings the crowd went wild.

Addressing the crowd President Mandela 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.” And urging forgiveness he said in Afrikaans: “Wat is verby verby” – “What is past is past”

Bonhams South African Art Sale on March 24 will feature works from the best selling South African Artists from Sekoto to Pierneef.