The spy pen gun is due to be auctioned at a live NFT auction on November 11 in Cape Town. Picture: SUPPLIED
The spy pen gun is due to be auctioned at a live NFT auction on November 11 in Cape Town. Picture: SUPPLIED

A pen gun owned by late South African freedom fighter Oliver Tambo is to be auctioned as a non-fungible token to raise funds for a heritage site that documents the nation’s struggle for democracy. 

Tambo led the ANC for almost a quarter century from 1967, during which he lived in exile and the party was outlawed for opposing SA’s whites-only apartheid government. He earlier helped found the ANC Youth League with Nelson Mandela and others, and helped co-ordinate the party’s guerrilla campaigns. 

The pen gun is thought to have been given to Tambo by East Germany in the mid-1980s and was possibly developed by its secret police, commonly known as the Stasi, according to research by Liliesleaf, a South African heritage body.

“Though the pen gun could not kill, it would badly injure a would-be assassin,” said Virtual Nation Builders, a blockchain company that tokenised the weapon. 

The NFT is to be auctioned with a starting price of $5,000, South African NFT exchange Momint’s website shows. Proceeds from the sale will go towards trying to reopen the Liliesleaf Heritage Site. 

NFTs have soared in popularity in recent months, with caricatures of monkeys and lions commanding prices in the millions of dollars. Sports clubs, prestige vehicle manufacturers, and even pop stars are among those getting into the nascent trading business, which uses blockchain technology to authenticate unique ownership tokens attached to otherwise easily reproducible digital goods.

Music, photography and digital art are among the popularly traded genres of NFTs.

Bloomberg

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.