Boxing championship belt given to Mandela stolen in South Africa

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A World Boxing Council (WBC) championship belt belonging to former South African president Nelson Mandela has been stolen from a museum in Soweto, police say.

American boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard gave the belt to Nelson Mandela during one of his visits to South Africa.

It was one of many items on display in the Nelson Mandela National Museum, a major tourist attraction for local and international travellers.

Nelson Mandela, a former amateur boxer, revered the belt prominently displayed in the museum, in a house where he lived in Soweto township, west of Johannesburg.

The museum is one of the main attractions on Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world to have two Nobel laureates among its former residents. Nelson Mandela and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an iconic figure in the struggle against apartheid, both lived on the street.

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

No suspects have been arrested and police are appealing for any information about the theft, said police spokesperson Dimakatso Sello.

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

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