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A Homecoming for Nelson Mandela’s Shoes

COMING HOME: Nelson Mandela’s sneakers have come back home to South Africa.
The late South African president and global icon of freedom, affectionately known as Madiba, walked out of the notorious Robben Island prison in 1990 after a total of 27 years of incarceration and hard labor wearing a pair of white tennis shoes, U.S. size 10, with the Hi-Tec logo in blue.
“They were a classic design of tennis shoes called Hi-Tec Wimbledon, given to Mandela by his then wife Winnie Mandela,” recalled Frank van Wezel, chairman of the Netherlands-based multinational sports footwear and apparel company.
When the sneakers came up for auction in 1996 to benefit the Nelson Mandela Foundation, van Wezel wasted no time putting in the winning bid for the pair. They were scruffy and worn but no less significant.
“Our shoes were on the feet of the person who had written ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ on the day that he was finally liberated. His walk started with our sneakers. There was so much history in that one pair of sneakers. And humor, too. Because there were certainly no tennis courts on Robben Island! But Mandela always had a playful sense of humor.”
Van Wezel clearly remembers the price he paid

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Via:: https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/a-homecoming-for-nelson-mandelas-shoes-1203026081/