February 2nd, 2011
02:42 PM GMT
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South Africans have been counting how much Nelson Mandela means to them recently. His ill heath has made many here reflect on the life of the former South African president.

The feelings are genuine. Many South Africans consider Mandela to be the grandfather of this nation's multi-racial democracy and the moral voice of the country.

For so many, he is irreplaceable. His worth is unquantifiable.

Ever since he was released from prison in 1990, people have wanted to "own" a bit of Mandela. So you can buy all sorts of Mandela memorabilia in South Africa: Images of his face can be seen on gold coins, handbags, salt and pepper shakers, place mats, clocks and a lot else.

This was upsetting to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. They were concerned Mandela's legacy would be demeaned if he became "just another face on a T-shirt," like Che Guevara. So they clamped down on excessive merchandising of his image.

It seems to have worked. Much of the stuff you can now buy has been "approved" by Mandela's office.

There is good reason for being careful about the Mandela brand – his is probably one of the world's most recognizable names. So the Mandela Foundation has been trying to ensure that his name becomes synonymous with his values, rather than cheap T-shirts. There has been a concerted effort to make sure that Mandela's legacy endures long after he has gone.

But on the streets here, as South Africans count how much Mandela means to them, his "brand" and his "image" are hollow words.

For them, you cannot put a price on what Mandela did to bring peace and democracy to this nation perched on the southern tip of Africa.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. mark russell

    Funny thing that. Did'nt a member of his family negotiate the rights to Mandela's death with the SABC a little time ago? His family certainly put a price on his death.........

    February 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  2. innocent

    Mandela means everythng u can think in this world he means everythng 2 all south Africans thats why we wish him a speed recovery.

    February 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  3. kafula

    Nelson Mandela is my HERO.
    I wish him good health.

    February 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  4. Manuel Vilhena

    Off course you can't. What counts most is his legacy.

    February 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  5. M de la Beaujardiere

    It has been alleged that a piece of land in the Transkei near Qunu, Mandela's birthplace has been bought in order to then make it available to foreign news teams in "the event" of his death and his burial in Qunu. The piece of land overlooks any future burial place.
    Tis a real shame that everyone wants a bit of him – blerrie vampires !

    February 3, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  6. Rashied

    Impossible to put a price on Mr Nelson Mandela.
    I wish him good healt and strenght.
    A true inspiration, THE WORLD LOVES YOU MADIBA

    February 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Brijendra Dharampuria

    I think, South Africans should honored to Nelson Mandela as Indian have for Mahatma Gandhi in Indian. If some African think that Mandela to be the grandfather of the nation that it come true. As Mahatma Gandhi is respected as Father of the nation(Inida) Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela devoted their whole lifer for their nation. So, this is the time to give honor to Nelson Mandela.
    Visit me: http://in.linkedin.com/in/vindiaservices

    February 4, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  8. joelle esther benyayer

    i wish all the best good health to nelson mandela if the freedom good a face for this siecle he will be nelson mandela for sure we see in south or france recentely with dutch people orgin from south africa yes all the white people get problem with people different i fight against it for more and twenty years no many people act talk strangly im victim of a group of extreme right in south of france some are europaan origins some are from south africa still it is today the racism and violence it a cas in south of france because i sing freedom united colors and believe i been agress my point of view are not the taste of everybody more tolerance the minorities need to show and share they culture for sure is the only way to fight against racism and idiotics people for me in three years of harcelement my appartement vanish with fournitures post stolen money press documents the worst is the attitutde of the frenchs people do not react it scaring no single help salfish attitutde yes the racism come from europa like the slavery in past we need to fight back because with exhibition of hilterl in germany some webiste in south of france neo nazi and the provocation i been victims off i can tell Nelson Mandela the next battle will be europa the intolerance coming back what the gouvernements in europa do against it no news no single news about violence racisme violence it happen with all this population do the press and médias are on the control i think so yes dont afraid the population is something lest some innocents victims of nazi group liek me and roberry without any reaction europa got a problems yes some minority are less important for them today to be jewish in south of france is hell and dangerous we got a big majority of extrem right european and middle east recentely arrive created big problesm of criminality the police let s do it if someone like me or my family we got a deputé in family cant fight against may be is time to go for jewish communauty and yes we are on border for some of us to live some countrys of europa the fascism is back Joelle esther benyayer

    February 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  9. Name*

    FREEDOM! A life time of love for others and the land, a voice of courage and peace, for all. Sacrifices from the heart, you are my hero, my strength, and my freedom, thank you. Thank you for your life of love, war and change. To be equal, to be respectede to be acknowled, to be loved and to live free. YOU ARE MY HERO, my teacher of peace and freedom my mentor to live, accept change, make change, in this world of igorants, youu have given! Worked, sacrificed, lived, changed, 'shared', cried,laughed, to bring freedom and understand to others, I Love You, thank you.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  10. Raelene Saylor

    Shame to even ask that question! No figure is high/enough, A man of Honour, trust, courage, situational traits of love for all ...not one, but good for all. A fight to the end, please hear me, my prayers, and thoughts are with you, get well xo Raelene

    February 8, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  11. cassyricky

    I'm sorry to rufffle a few feathers here but Mandela is no saint. The world seems to have forgotten that he was a terrorist and was rightly tried and convicted. No matter what your convictions you don't have the right to kill inocent women and children. Had he not been caught by the police he most certainly would, at some stage, planted a bomb that would have killed a lot of people. It would be interesting to see how the world would see him now if he had been successful. In another vein, during the last ANC elections he was patting and hugging jacob zuma, a fruadster and rapist. It clearly showed that his sense of judgment is impaired and is in fact NOT a saint.

    February 11, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  12. Raelene Saylor

    Not a saint? In who's eyes, yours? The land and freedom of all?? For freedom and the right to your own land, and to live free! We survive in a world of frustration, selfishness, greed and ignorance.

    February 20, 2011 at 5:31 am |
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    I can not participate now in discussion – there is no free time. I will be released – Iwill necessarily express the opinion on this question.


    September 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
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    In my opinion you are mistaken. I can prove it.

    October 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  16. Bradley Devanski

    Gold coins were one of the oldest forms of money. This was later followed by silver coins. Gold coins were in circulation in the United States from 1838 to 1933. The design was the Liberty Head bust but this was only made until 1907. The design was then changed to the Indian Head and Saint Gaudens motifs and was used until 1933 when the Great Depression began. This prompted the recall of gold coins which makes them very difficult to find today.^..

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