Shops cash in on surging Nelson Mandela interest

Jul 03, 2013, 04:07 IST | Agencies

Nelson Mandela's prolonged illness has sparked intense interest in the anti-apartheid icon's life and times with books, shirts and other Madiba merchandise flying off the shelves.

At bookstores across the worried South African nation, stands have gone up to highlight the legacy of the former political prisoner who became South Africa’s first black president.

MADIBA Sells: A man wearing a T-shirt showing Nelson Mandela takes part in a prayer ceremony outside the African National Congress building. Pic/AFP

Shopper Amanda Coetzee grabbed a copy of Mandela’s definitive Long Walk to Freedom. “I am kind of ashamed because I had never read it, after all those years,” she said.

While the 94-year-old peace icon is fighting for his life in a hospital in Pretoria, new book supplies have been ordered.

Similar scenes are playing out in the nearby upmarket Sandton business centre, where many tourists pass through on a visit to Johannesburg.

Bookstores and shops are seeing brisk sales of souvenirs, books and shirts bearing Mandela’s iconic features.

At the Jacana curio store , a new shipment of merchandise has just arrived.

“We get these T-shirts every year before Mandela’s birthday,” on July 18, saleswoman Shana Melansky said.

Nearby, onlookers gazed at a giant six-metre bronze statute depicting a dancing Mandela which was unveiled in 2003.

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