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Home World News Washington Post World News Boxing champion belt given to Mandela stolen in South Africa

Boxing champion belt given to Mandela stolen in South Africa

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JOHANNESBURG – A World Boxing Council championship belt belonging to former South African President Nelson Mandela has been stolen from a museum in Soweto, according to police.

The belt was given to Mandela by American boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard during one of his visits to South Africa.

It was one of several artifacts in the Nelson Mandela National Museum, a major tourist attraction for local and international travelers.

Mandela, a former amateur boxer, venerated the belt and it was prominently displayed in the museum in a house he once lived in in the Soweto borough, west of Johannesburg.

The museum is one of the top attractions on Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world to claim two Nobel laureates as former residents. Mandela and the late anti-apartheid Archbishop Desmond Tutu both lived on the streets.

Police say the belt was stolen when thieves broke into the museum, popularly called the Mandela House, and the theft was reported to police on July 1.

No suspects have been arrested and police have appealed for information related to the theft, police spokeswoman Dimakatso Sello said.

Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected leader in 1994, after serving 27 years in prison for his struggle against apartheid, the brutal system of white minority government that ruled the country from 1948 to 1994.



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