World Boxing Council championship belt stolen from museum


According to police, a World Boxing Council belt belonging to former South African President Nelson Mandela was stolen from a museum in Soweto.

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

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

Mandela, a former amateur boxer, adored the belt and it features prominently in the museum in a house where he once lived in the township of Soweto, west of Johannesburg.

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

According to police, the belt was stolen when thieves broke into the museum, popularly known as the Mandela House, and the theft was reported to police on July 1.

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

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