Fears Mandela name may be abused

2013-12-17 09:18
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - One of the world's most revered names, "Mandela" has also become a money-spinning brand that some fear may be abused and devalued by the very people supposed to protect it - his heirs.

The man hailed for his selflessness and sacrifice had pointedly stated during his lifetime that he did not wish to be linked to commercial products.

Yet in the last months of his life, feuds broke out among his close associates and family members over using the Mandela name to sell everything from wine to art - at times grabbing such attention the spats threatened to overshadow reflections on the great man himself.

In financial terms, experts expect the Mandela brand to shoot through the roof now that the revered statesman has died.

"It is only natural that now, when the inevitable laws of nature have taken the first democratically-elected South African president from our midst, people want to have at least a small token as a reminder of the great man," Jaco Jonker, chief executive officer of the online auction site bidorbuy, told AFP.

T-shirts, flags, caps and badges bearing the Mandela likeness and name have been selling wildly at sidewalk stalls since Mandela - also lovingly known as Tata (father) and Madiba (his clan name) -died on December 5, aged 95

Booksales have soared, and the bidorbuy online auction site reported a "phenomenal" rise in demand for Mandela-related products - with 378 items sold on each of the first three days after his death, compared to a usual daily average of about 60.

Grey zone

Who owns the rights on products bearing the Mandela image or name, however, is somewhat of a grey zone.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a charity created by the revered statesman, has 18 registered trademarks "to provide a legal instrument for acting against inappropriate use of Madiba's name and image", Verne Harris, head of the foundation's Centre of Memory, told AFP.

"The primary rationale for the registrations is... to prevent commercial exploitation."

South Africa's Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office has 130 enterprises listed, including Lattelicious Mandela Square (a Johannesburg coffee shop), Mandela Auto Body Parts, Mandela Clothing, and Mandela Poultry Cooperative Limited.

And then there are the dozens of roads, buildings, bridges, parks, schools and shopping malls, even a city - Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape - that carry the famous name.

Branding expert Jeremy Sampson says it is impossible to protect a name absolutely, and suggested efforts to do so had been "a little slow to begin with".

"Certain things have been organised and set up that carry his mandate, but other things were set up by members of his family the he or his lawyers have been unable to control," said Sampson.

"It is a murky world at the moment," he added.

One key point that is not legally clear is what rights Mandela's more than 30 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have to use the registered name that is also their own.

And what about the ruling African National Congress with whom his name is intrinsically linked - an association presumably worth a few votes?

In recent months, some members of the Mandela family have sought to cash in on the brand, leading to much airing of dirty laundry.

Investment firms

Two of the icon's daughters sought to wrest control from four Mandela confidants of two investment firms created to channel proceeds from the sale of Mandela handprints to his family.

The prints, produced between 2004 and 2005, were reportedly sold to celebrities for over $1.7 million.

The daughters later abandoned their bid.

There was also an argument involving grandson Mandla Mandela, who accused his aunts of trying to gain control of the Mandela millions.

Mandla, in turn, moved the remains of his late father and two other relatives to Mvezo, Mandela's birthplace and where Mandla is tribal chief, in a bid, his family claimed, to try and force the statesman's burial there to cash in on the ensuing tourism.

Mandla was forced by a court order to return the remains to Qunu, where Mandela grew up and where he had expressed a wish to be buried.

Qunu, where the statesman was finally laid to rest on Sunday, already has a Mandela museum.

Harris has previously said that Mandela wanted to avoid all commercial exploitation of his name.

Expensive wines

"The guidelines included things like 'I don't want my face on commercial products, I do not want to be associated with tobacco, alcohol', and so on."

Yet a Mandela daughter and granddaughter have launched a range of expensive wines, named "House of Mandela", that they claim honours his memory.

Two other granddaughters are the stars of a television reality show called "Being Mandela", and yet others launched the "Long Walk to Freedom" clothing line after the title of their forefather's autobiography.

Many fear the fight for Mandela's name, and his assets, will intensify after the mourning period passes.

"I think his family has already done a lot of damage to his name," said Sampson.

"Reputation impacts on the brand, and vice versa."

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  mandla mandela
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Boys, 6, die in hit-and-run

2014-04-19 22:37

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
65 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.