Shops cash in on surging Nelson Mandela interest

Johannesburg, PTI | Updated : 03 July 2013, 08:57 AM

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.

At Exclusive Books in Johannesburg's upmarket Hyde Park suburb, no less than 26 books on Mandela, from his autobiography to speeches, quotations and photo albums, were on display.

Shopper Amanda Coetzee grabbed a copy of Mandela's definitive "Long Walk to Freedom" for 409 South African rands (USD 41).

"I am kind of ashamed because I had never read it, after all those years," she told AFP.

"He was probably the best leader we could expect. He prevented a bloodshed in South Africa" at the end of apartheid and in negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy, she said.

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

"There are more buying now, since last week, they have been buying a lot," said book sales assistant Lucy Ngomane.

"It has more than doubled!"

"Yesterday, somebody came in and bought three copies of Long Walk to Freedom, while another took six portraits which costs 570 rands," Ngomane added.

First Published: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 08:55 AM
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