Nelson Mandela flag 'saved from auction by patriotic South African businessman'

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A South African flag which flew at Nelson Mandela's presidential inauguration is returning home after it was saved from being auctioned by a ''patriotic'' businessman.

The flag, signed by Mr Mandela and fellow South African presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk, was flown at the landmark presidential inauguration in May 1994.

Bonhams, the auction house, had been due to auction it later this month.

But the auction said on Thursday that it had brokered a deal with an anonymous London-based South African businessman and philanthropist ''for an undisclosed amount''.

The deal is on the understanding that the flag will be returned to South Africa and handed over to the South African government.

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