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Fears Mandela name may be abused

By admin
17 December 2013

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.