Ontario, Canada: Arbitrade, a Canadian crypto-currency exchange firm, has bought four gold castings of the hand of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela for $10m (£7m) in bitcoin. Arbitrade purchased the artefacts of Mr Mandela from South African businessman Malcolm Duncan. Mr Duncan, who now lives in Canada, bought the casts from mining group Harmony Gold in 2002 for about $31,000.
Arbitrade said it planned to launch a global “Golden Hands of Nelson Mandela” tour to educate young people about the anti-apartheid icon’s life. Mr Mandela was jailed for 27 years for fighting white minority rule in South Africa. He was released in 1990, and served as president from 1994 to 1999.
The casts, which weigh around 20lb (9kg), include Mr Mandela’s hand, palm and fist. They are part of a collection meant to mark the years the former president spent in prison on Robben Island. The artefacts are believed to be the only ones left in the world.
Little information is available about Arbitrade, an Ontario-based cryptocurrency company, something chairman Len Schutzman says is about to change.
The company is “weeks away” from doing an initial coin offering and is building a facility in Waterloo, Ontario, to mine its own cryptocurrencies and plans to trade others.
Arbitrade plans to back all its virtual currency with a percentage of physical metal, such as gold, according to Schutzman.
Mandela’s solid gold hand would seem to fit the bill, although as a general rule Schutzman says he’ll seek to acquire gold bars or coins rather than art. Weighing 20 pounds (9 kg), the value of the gold is a fraction of the artifacts’ purchase price.
Their real value is one of publicity, as a means of educating millennials about Mandela – and Arbitrade – through a global “Golden Hands of Nelson Mandela” tour the company plans to launch, he says.
Popularly known as Madiba, Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was born 18 July 1918. He died on December 5, 2013.
Mandela had developed himself and his leadership role above the boundaries of South Africa. He was an African leader and a global icon.
Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999. He was the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life in prison. He served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island in Cape Town.
Upon his release Mandela preached and installed reconciliation in South Africa. His political acumen united a country once torn by racial and tribal enmity.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. As president from 1994 to 1999, he gave priority to reconciliation.
When Mandela took over office in 1994 he made it clear that in South Africa the black and white people are equal, and they all enjoy the same constitutional privileges.
Mandela who was the commander of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) (translated Spear of the Nation), ANC military wing, hated poverty and his wish is to see children living in happiness and able to advance their ambitions for a better world.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead,” Mandela once said.
In 2009, United Nations General Assembly declared 18th of July as annual International Nelson Mandela Day.