The CEO SleepOut initiative has come under fire on social media for auctioning a night to sleep in Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island.
The annual charity event has apparently backtracked on the bid, which would have cost a minimum of $250‚000‚ or about R3.4 millon.
Robben Island Museum management has strongly condemned the bid which has since been removed from the website.
The CEO SleepOut thing is so brazenly in bad taste, there are no words pic.twitter.com/EmAZN0r9oM— Victor Dlamini (@victordlamini) July 4, 2018
The page on the CEO SleepOut website previously read:
"No auction of its kind has ever been done in South Africa. The highest bidder will win the honour of spending the night inside the historic cell number 7‚ where Mandela spent 18 years."
Robben Island spokesperson, Morongoa Ramaboa, says the organisers of the event never discussed the possibility of anyone sleeping in or auctioning Mandela's cell.
Ramaboa says management were left in the dark and are still waiting for a formal response from the CEO SleepOut's PR team.
She says the auction has caused Robben Island reputational damage.
The possibility of anyone sleeping or spending the night or even auctioning Nelson Mandela's cell was never discussed or raised during the negotiations.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
Robben Island Museum condemns the auction. There was never such an opportunity.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
We are saddened that Nelson Mandela's legacy is being exploited in this way.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
We were unaware of the live auction on the website.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
It doesn't meet with our mandate as a World Heritage Site.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
We found out about this action through the public domain.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
We reached out to the organisers to respond to the serious allegations. We were informed that their PR agency has a holding statement in place. We still haven't received that holding statement.— Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson
Take a listen to Robben Island's response:
Below are some of the reactions to the story posted on Twitter:
I agree with the Robben Island Museum. The idea that #CEOSleepOut could auction off a night in Madiba's cell is wrong, morally objectionable, and disgusting. (My words, not theirs.) The #CEOSleepOut organisers should be ashamed of themselves.— Martin Slabbert (@martinslabbert) July 5, 2018
The irony of spending millions to be 'homeless' for a night and then return in the morning to corporations which exploit inequality & create homelessness is clearly lost on participating #CEOSleepout executives— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) July 5, 2018
The #CEOSleepOut is possibly the best argument you'll see for unilaterally seizing the wealth and the land, and the means of production, and handing them over to the people.— mbappé ka sithayi (@comradesipho) July 4, 2018
I can't wait to see which CEO blows north of $250k of shareholders' money on this exercise in self-aggrandisement. The ultimate ego trip, complete with selfies.— Dave (@bravedave99) July 4, 2018
Whoever runs this concept has lost all idea of that was the initial concept of this project. @CEOSleepout 😒😒😒— 🍋Z@fF€RØ£ög¥ 🍋 (@Zafferology) July 4, 2018
The least surprising thing about the CEO sleep out is CEO's not listening to ANYONE telling them how crazy the idea is.— Christopher Mumbeck (@ChrisMumbeck) July 4, 2018
"What are you talking about? People love the idea..."
This #CEOSLEEPOUTZA is nothing but poverty porn🙄— Reza Hamdulay (@RezaHamdulay) July 4, 2018
Sure, belittle the imposed suffering of struggle prisoners on Robben Island to “raise funds” for “good causes” (and obviously to cover the “costs” of the project), why don’t you, #CEOSleepout— Spikey (@S_p_i_k_e_s) July 5, 2018
When your actions are this tacky, it discloses how you really feel about our past.
Mandela the hair model. Mandela the #CEOSleepout slumber party host with the most. Mandela the moneymaker 😔— Montsho the Black (@MmabathoMontsho) July 5, 2018
The CEO Sleep Out is top 5 the wildest thing I’ve seen happen in this country.— zane lelo meslani. (@lelowhatsgood) July 4, 2018
The CEO Sleep Out thing is a horrible idea but instead of rectifying, they make it worse. Lol! Amazing.— The Joker | Bukowski (@SDotJR_) July 5, 2018
Why do we have CEO Sleep Outs?— Katharine Child (@katjanechild) July 4, 2018
Remember, when they had a chef and mini golf on the bridge for overnight in their sleeping bags.
The sleep out is so insulting to the poor.
This year has gone one step too far, auctioning Madiba's cell
I hope the corporates will avoid this farce.
The recent scandal and expose has show that the #CEOSleepout magogo who is the sole trustee has been eating millions meant for charity on the down low.— Changamire (@ernimungo) July 5, 2018
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Robben Island distances itself from 'exploitative' Mandela prison cell auction