Faced with a whopping phone bill, the African National Congress on Friday sold off some of its Mandelabilia.
Shirts, shoes and glasses once worn by President Nelson Mandela helped bring in $85,714 at a lavish auction where the buyers were pleased to get pieces of history.The proceeds will more than pay for a $77,000 phone bill run up by Mandela's ANC in Western Cape province last year in the campaign for South Africa's first all-race elections. Western Cape was the only province the ANC lost.
"This pair of shoes made history," said local businessman Abdul Peer, who paid $1,850 for the shoes given to Mandela in 1989 before a historic meeting with then-President P.W. Botha. "I am very proud to be their owner."
Mandela, who briefly attended the auction, recalled that the warden told him he looked terrible in the suit and shoes laid out for him and ordered him to reknot the tie and laces.
Within months, F.W. de Klerk had replaced Botha as president and freed Mandela from 27 years imprisonment. The two men negotiated the end of white minority rule, culminating in elections last year that made Mandela the country's first black president.
The highest-priced item Friday was a pair of High-Tech running shoes - $2,850.