Nobel Peace Prize awardee and former South African president Nelson Mandela’s original arrest warrant that was minted as a non-fungible token (NFT) has raised $130,000 (roughly Rs. 99 lakh) in an auction aimed to fund a heritage site that documents South Africa’s struggle for democracy. According to Posthumus, chief executive officer of Momint — the marketplace for NFTs that sold the Mandela item, the proceeds from the sale will go towards the Liliesleaf Museum heritage site which received the original document in 2004 as a donation.
Describing the deal as a way to revitalise their flow and keep history alive, Ahren in an interview with Bloomberg, said the deal will help the museum sites stay afloat as they have been badly affected by the lack of tourism due to the pandemic. According to him, the buyer of the NFT will also have exclusive access to the original document at Liliesleaf Museum — that documents the nation’s struggle for democracy, noting that the ink is visible through the paper of the high-definition scan.
“This is really a unique and novel way of generating income,” Liliesleaf Farm museum founder, Nicholas Wolpe told AFP. The original document, dated 1961, now yellowed, with deformed edges and bearing staple holes on one side, is handwritten in both English and Afrikaans. It has been kept at the Liliesleaf Farm heritage site archives in Johannesburg since around 2006, said Wolpe.
Liliesleaf Farm, then on the outskirts of the South African city of Johannesburg, was used as the secret headquarters of the African National Congress 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.
Last November, a pen gun owned by late South African freedom fighter Oliver Tambo was auctioned as an NFT to raise funds for the Liliesleaf Museum.
NFTs have soared in popularity in recent months, with caricatures of monkeys and lions commanding prices in the millions of dollars. Sports clubs, prestige automakers and even pop stars are among those getting into the buzzing business, which uses blockchain technology to authenticate unique ownership tokens attached to otherwise reproducible digital assets.
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