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Famous boxing belt donated to Nelson Mandela by Sugar Ray Leonard, stolen

South African police have launched a manhunt for suspects who stole a boxing belt donated to Nelson Mandela by US champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

The world champion belt, worth about $3,000 had been on display at the Mandela House Museum in Soweto.

According to Police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Sello, a case of theft was opened with the police on 2 July.

It is alleged that staff who reported for duty at the famous museum on Vilakazi Street, where the anti-apartheid icon lived between 1946 and 1962, noticed that the locks had been tampered with the day before.

On investigation, it was established that the belt had been taken. It is unclear at this stage if anything else was stolen.

Mandela, who became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994 after spending 27 years in jail for fighting against apartheid, was a boxing fan.

“I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one’s body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced oneself over a match,” he wrote in his autobiography.

According to Mandela House, the belt was given to Mandela shortly after his release from prison by South Africa’s white-minority government in February 1990.

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