Minted as a non-fungible token (NFT), the original arrest warrant of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former South African President Nelson Mandela fetched US$130,000 (about 99 lakh) in an auction aimed at funding a heritage site dedicated to the fight South Africa’s Documented 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 benefit the Liliesleaf Museum, which received the original document as a donation in 2004.
Ahren described the deal as a way to revitalize her flow and keep the story alive, and in an interview with Bloomberg said the deal will help museum sites stay afloat as they’ve been hit hard by the lack of tourism due to the pandemic be. According to him, the buyer of the NFT will also have exclusive access to the original document at the Liliesleaf Museum – which documents the nation’s struggle for democracy and notes that the ink is visible through the paper of the high-resolution 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 staple holes on one page, is handwritten in both English and Afrikaans. It has been held in the archives at the Liliesleaf Farm Heritage Site in Johannesburg since about 2006, Wolpe said.
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 the authorities. Leading activists were arrested there in a police raid in 1963.
Last November, a pen pistol owned by the late South African freedom fighter Oliver Tambo was auctioned off as an NFT to raise funds for the Liliesleaf Museum.
NFTs have grown in popularity in recent months, with cartoons of monkeys and lions fetching prices in the millions. Sports clubs, renowned automakers and even pop stars are among those jumping into the vibrant business that uses blockchain technology to authenticate unique property tokens attached to otherwise reproducible digital assets.
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