Mandela’s name has been used to sell anything and everything from art to t-shirts, badges, caps, etc. These items are sold on the streets, in the shopping malls, near Mandela House in Soweto, and Houghton, and we buy them because we are convinced that we need to own our personal Mandela memorabilia.
Artists represent Mandela in their works… Writers sell books about Mandela’s life, and these sales are now soaring …how many films based in Mandela’s life have been made? How many articles, comments, points of view, people’s interviews about Mandela can we list?
Mandela’s image became another fetish of our time and his name turned into a brand to cash in currency. As to what happens with other pop symbols, Mandela’s brand is consumed to exhaustion. We, average mortals have a fascination for universal heroes and saints whom happen to be our own creation, and being aware of this fascination, the money machine fully exploits it to its advantage generating millions in currency.
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 Co-operative 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 – which carry the famous name. ( 17 Dec 2013 07:06 Habibou Bangre, in Mail and Guardian online)
Will Madiba, the mythological figure, the beatified saint, transcend our capitalist anxieties and neurosis and reach future generations distilled of all the “lesser” aspects of our selves?