Mandela`s photo raised R2 million in 2 days before his death

Just two days before his death, a photographic portrait of former South African president Nelson Mandela was sold for a record Rand 2 million.

PTI| Updated: Dec 06, 2013, 13:02 PM IST

Johannesburg: Just two days before his death, a photographic portrait of former South African president Nelson Mandela was sold for a record Rand 2 million.

The photo was part of a collection in the 21 Icons SA series, aimed at raising funds for charity.

The portrait by photographer Adrian Steirn had been published along with the others over several months in the national weekly Sunday Times as a collectors` item.

It depicts Mandela`s face reflected in a mirror and was the first of 21 signed portraits of iconic South Africans to be unveiled during the debut season of this three-year project.

The portrait, Steirn said, was intended to convey the elder statesman reflecting on his journey through his life, from being a political prisoner for 27 years to becoming the country`s first democratically elected president in 1994.

"As he reflects on his life, we reflect on his legacy and our future," Steirn said in a statement.

The R2m price (about USD 191,247) was the highest ever paid for a South African photograph, but the buyer was not local.

A private art collector form New York, who preferred to remain anonymous, made the successful bid.

"In a single frame the photographer has captured the essence of dignity, principle, conviction and courage in this great man," the buyer said.

The money raised will be split between the Nelson Mandela Children`s Hospital and the World Wildlife Fund.

The Nelson Mandela Children?s Hospital is being built in Johannesburg and is expected to open late next year.