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Mandela's face value

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Mandela's face value


As the health of ailing former South African President Nelson Mandela remains a global concern.

It is boom time for all things Mandela and around his former home in Vilakazi Street in Soweto business is brisk.

Nelly Mthethwa is street vendor:

“They are buying more Mandela it is a positive thing because everybody is crying about Mandela. We must sell because, he is our icon.”

The Mandela family have not been slow in maximising the earning potential of ‘ brand Mandela’ and have created a number of business outlets bearing his name such as the House of Mandela Wine and 46664 garments, his Robben Island prison number.

Brand Mandela is also significant for the long term benefit of South Africa:

Mike Schussler is a South African economist:

“I think in the long run, the value that Nelson Mandela has added to South Africa is beyond the immediate. It is about his image
and the fact we have peace. The simple fact we have peace has contributed hugely to the economic successes that we have had in this country.”

The value of brand Mandela has led to public disputes amongst family members and is a cause of growing concern

Our correspondent in Soweto is Valerie Gauriat:

“Commercialised in a variety of ways Mandela’s smile will perpetuate his memory in people’s homes. Beyond the marketing of his image the disputes over his heritage are becoming more and more ugly and have stirred some indignation in South Africa. Many fear his aura may be tarnished when he is no longer around.”

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