Visconti Pens – Nelson Mandela Pen

When Visconti Pens of Florence . . . . decided to work with House of Mandela on creating a treasured writing instrument in tribute to Nelson Mandela . . . . they knew the finished product had to be of utmost quality, style and finesse.

Visconti pens of Florence, Italy, together with its local distributor JOAT Luxury Brands have spent the past year working closely with House of Mandela, a company owned by members of Madiba’s immediate family, in developing a writing instrument that symbolises some of the heritage and history surrounding this royal South African family. The finished product, limited to only 95 pieces worldwide, is adorned with locally-sourced solid gold and precious and semi-precious stones and is proudly displayed on the cover of this, our 2013 spring issue.


“The bee… is the literal translation of Madiba’s name Rolihlahla, colloquially
meaning ‘one who is brave enough to challenge the status quo’.”

The writing instrument is a striking piece, comprising three-dimensional effects of golden honeycomb and intricately designed bees on the shaft. The rationale behind this is simple, as explained by Tukwini Mandela, Madiba’s granddaughter and marketing director of House of Mandela:  “The bee is our family’s totem symbol and represents the House of Mandela. It is the literal translation of Madiba’s name Rolihlahla, colloquially meaning ‘one who is brave enough to challenge the status quo’.”

Quite literally, as Tukwini reminiscently explained, the name Rolihlahla means ‘he who is brave enough to enter the bee’s hive’ – which appropriately depicts Madiba and his years of unquestionable bravery, confidence and commitment to his country’s people during the struggle and now acknowledged the world over.

viscontiIn addition to representing courage, the bee symbol along with the honeycomb detailing also represents compassion and a concern for others. Through sharing acts of kindness, it invokes numerous relationship circles with family, friends and the broader community. The bee also has a central function in our ecosystem as the pollinator of food crops and without it our world would be changed forever.

The symbol of the bee is held very dear to the Mandela family – and traditionally speaks volumes in terms of ancestral ties. When Madiba visited his traditional home in the Eastern Cape after his release from prison in 1990, he was followed by a swarm of bees all the way from the airport to his homestead. The family believed this symbolised good tidings and blessings from his ancestors as they were welcoming him home.

Visconti has created a symbol of the Mandela family with all of the fine craftsmanship this pen maker has become famous for. Their ultimate goal with the House of Mandela writing instrument was to create a keepsake that can be treasured as a one-of-a-kind tribute to our former statesman and our country’s grandfather, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

By Kevin Taylor

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