Non-fungible token of Nelson Mandela’s original arrest warrant up for auction in Cape Town
A digital version of the original 1961 warrant of arrest for Nelson Mandela will go on auction on Saturday, 61 years after it was first issued. Picture: Supplied
A non-fungible token created from Nelson Mandela’s original arrest warrant raised R1.9m in an auction to help fund a heritage site that documents SA’s struggle for democracy.
Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist who emerged from 27 years in prison to become SA’s first Black president, was arrested in 1962 for conspiring to overthrow the White-minority government.
Proceeds from the sale will go towards the Liliesleaf Museum Heritage Site, which received the original document in 2004 as a donation, said Ahren Posthumus, CEO of Momint, the marketplace for NFTs that sold the Mandela item. Last year the museum received about R720,000 after an auction of an NFT of a pen gun owned by fellow freedom fighter Oliver Tambo.
This helps the “museum sites stay afloat,” Posthumus said in an interview. “They have been badly affected by the lack of tourism due to Covid-19. So this is a way to revitalise their flow and keep history alive.”
The buyer of the NFT will have exclusive access to the original document at Liliesleaf Museum, Posthumus said. “The ink is visible through the paper” of the high-definition scan, he said.
Liliesleaf farm, then on the outskirts of Johannesburg, was used as the secret headquarters of the ANC from 1961 and was where Mandela and other party leaders hid from authorities. Leading activists were arrested there during a raid by police in 1963.
Bored Apes Yacht Club NFT was also sold at the auction at R4.5m said Posthumus.
Saturday evening’s auction will be hosted at the Grand Africa Café and Beach in Granger Bay as well as online, and will take place alongside an immersive festival featuring top local and international DJs, art auctions and installations, light shows and holographic scenes.
Meanwhile, Ex-Political Prisoners Association secretary Mpho Masemola has urged the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra), to work with the association to protect the heritage and legacy of former political prisoners.
“Our heritage and legacy projects under Sahra’s jurisdiction must be protected against poachers who are hell-bent to benefit from our sweat and suffering for self aggrandisement,” Masemola said.