Who Profits From Mandela’s Brand? 

The former South African president’s image and name are powerful marketing tools that have created a scramble between family and politicians. 

Nelson Mandela's daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, and her daughter, Tukwini Mandela, pose with a bottle of House of Mandela wine at their home in Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela's daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, and her daughter, Tukwini Mandela, pose with a bottle of House of Mandela wine at their home in Johannesburg JENNIFER BRUCE/AFP/Getty Images

The face and name of Nelson Mandela are powerful branding tools that can help sell everything from sweatshirts to kitchen aprons.

With the recent death of the former South African president and national treasure, there is a scramble as to who gets to control the Mandela brand and legacy, which are potent commercial and political images that can garner a fortune, Reuters reports.

In the mix for Mandela’s inheritance, legacy, image and brand are his more than 30 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, some of whom already use the Mandela name and image to market everything from reality TV to caps, Reuters reports.

Although the political activist objected to his name being associated to alcohol or tobacco products, Reuters reports that Makaziwe Mandela and one of her daughters launched a “House of Mandela” wine.

Some of his grandchildren started a line of clothing featuring caps and sweatshirts that have Mandela’s image under “Long Walk to Freedom,” taken from the title of his autobiography. Two of his granddaughters starred in a reality television show called Being Mandela, Reuters reports.

Then there are those companies that have no ties to the Mandela family, or the man himself, but wish to profit from his legacy. According to Reuters, there are at least 40 companies registered with the South African government that use the Mandela name.

The list includes the Gandhi-Mandela Nursing Academy, Mandela Truck Shuttle Services, Mama Mandela Marketing Company, Thanks Mandela Toiletries and Mandela’s Shed, a restaurant.

Mandela’s clan name, “Madiba,” has been used by more than 140 registered companies, including: Madiba Truck Stop, Madiba Wines, Madiba’s Driving School, Madiba Chickens, Madiba Cash and Madiba Bottle Store, Reuters reports.

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