JOHANNESBURG – An auction is being held in South Africa for the opportunity to spend a night in Nelson Mandela’s former prison on Robben Island.
A charity is taking bids, opening at $250,000 (£330,000), to allow 67 people to stay overnight in the old maximum-security jail, where the former South African anti-apartheid leader spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars.
The event is being organised by a group known as CEO Sleepout to mark the day Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95, would have turned 100.
It says bids close at midnight local time on 17 July, the day before his birthday:
No auction of its kind has ever been done in South Africa. The highest bidder will win the honour of spending the night inside the historic Cell Number 7, where Mandela spent 18 years."
Mr Mandela was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation – a process completed by the first multi-racial elections in 1994 when he became the country’s first black president.
Some of the money raised in the auction will be given to a US group providing prisoners with access to public university-level education, CEO Sleepout said.
So far three bids have been registered on the charity's website.