DURBAN - A spy “pen gun” once owned by anti-apartheid icon and former ANC president Oliver Tambo, has been tokenised into a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) and is now up for sale.
The NFT - a digital image or artwork of the “pen gun” which is unique and cannot be replaced with something else- will be auctioned.
The spy pen gun is believed to have been given as a gift to Tambo by the East Germans to help protect him from any would-be assassins, during the mid-1980s.
This historical first is brought to South Africans by Virtual Nation Builders, the Covid-19 Business Rescue Initiative (COBRA) and the Liliesleaf Museum.
“The spy pen gun NFT is a digital photorealistic image of the actual spy pen gun which is stored safely within the Lilliesleaf Museum archives and is not accessible to viewings by the public.
“The proud owner of this NFT will obtain the right to experience and view the Pen Gun at the Liliesleaf Museum for life,” said the founder and chief executive of the Liliesleaf Trust Nicholas Wolpe.
Wolpe said in a statement that the spy pen gun is due to be auctioned at a live NFT auction on November 11, in Cape Town.
He said the event hosted by NFT exchange Momint, will have high net-worth individuals from around the world at an auction of unique assets.
“Blockchain company Virtual Nation Builders has tokenised the spy pen NFT and its uniqueness has been independently certified with a crypto asset number. All net proceeds of the sale will be used to help save the Liliesleaf Museum in Johannesburg, which has been hard-hit by the lockdown and Covid-19,” said Wolpe.
Maurice Crespi, chief executive of Virtual Nation Builders said the auction of the spy pen gun NFT is a significant new development for the preservation of South Africa’s heritage.
“If we can successfully leverage the power of NFTs to preserve our rich heritage, we will put South Africa on the global map in terms of innovation through crypto asset use and management,” said Crespi.
Wolpe said Tambo’s status as a former ANC President, along with the significance, utility and rarity of this piece, are believed to be among the factors which will drive the price of the NFT up.
He also underlined the status of the Liliesleaf Farm and Museum as one of South Africa’s foremost national heritage sites.
Between 1961 and 1963, Liliesleaf served as the secret headquarters of the ANC, SACP, Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Congress Alliance. Today, Liliesleaf is home to several extraordinary exhibitions that tell the story of the journey to democracy in South Africa.
But Liliesleaf faces significant funding challenges that threaten its survival, he said.
“Liliesleaf is a treasure trove of amazing apartheid struggle stories and items. Being able to unlock the value of the unique assets held by Liliesleaf through the exponential power of blockchain technology is quite simply phenomenal. We’ll be making history by transforming South Africa’s painful past into a current, technological asset to experience that history” said Wolpe.