Hi-Tec has reimagined and reissued the tennis shoes owned by the late South African president and former political prisoner when he was released from Robben Island in 1990, a free man after a total of 27 years of incarceration.
The original, soil-streaked and frayed U.K. size 10 pair that Mandela wore, a classic style then known as “Hi-Tec Wimbledon,” has been on display since 2019 at the Hi-Tec concept store in Stellenbosch near Cape Town. The shoes were purchased at auction by company chairman Frank van Wezel.
The updated limited-edition sneaker is called “Freedom 67” in honor of the 67 years of Mandela’s life that he devoted toward the struggle against apartheid. It is the key product around which the Freedom Shared campaign Hi-Tec recently launched in South Africa is centered. Inspired by the great man’s own words, to wit: “The purpose of freedom is to share it with others,” van Wezel stated that “people need this story of love and unity, now more than ever. They need to remember what Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba, stood for.”