Street vendors, designer stores and book stores in South Africa are cashing in on former president Nelson Mandela’s illness by selling portraits, T-shirts and other merchandise branded with his image.
"Every time motorists see Mandela's portrait, they stop and buy, because his illness has created fresh interest among South Africans who love him so much’" Patrico Macia, a 28-year-old hawker, told the Anadolu Agency.
Mandela, who is revered like a saint in South Africa for fighting Apartheid, was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on June 8, suffering from a recurring long infection.
Since his admission to hospital, hawkers have taken advantage and started selling items bearing his image.
In Midrand, north of Johannesburg, several hawkers stand at busy road intersections and stop signs to lure motorists into buying Mandela branded merchandise.
"I have sold over 10 portraits of Mandela today," said Macia, putting the price of each portrait at $20 (Rand 200).
"I can’t complain business is booming, expect for the Metro police who keep on chasing us away from the stop signs," he added before running off to attend to a customer.
Mandela, 95, became South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994. He served in the office for five years.
He is revered by South Africans as the father of their nation after spending spent 27 years in prison for taking up arms to fight the apartheid regime.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is paying tribute to the ailing hero by placing his pictures at the ANC headquarters in central Johannesburg.
Mandela served as ANC president between 1991 and 1997.
In downtown Johannesburg, designer stores have stocked Mandela T-shirts, which cost between $300 - $400 depending on the quality and design.
"Most of my customers are youth and some of them have been buying two pairs of the Mandela T-shirts, because they love him," Thabang Tobela, a store owner at one of Johannesburg’s small streets, told the AA.
However, the Mandela shirts which were made popular by the former iconic leader during his term as president in the 1990 cost slightly more.
‘"The Mandela shirts go for $850 (Rand. 850) because of the expensive fabric and those who buy them are mostly middle class people and professionals," Tobela explained.
The Mandela shirts are long sleeved, flowered or striped shirts with big buttons, the same as those Mandela used to wear.
They are typically worn by local politicians, academics and middle class people.
When contacted for a comment, Sello Hatang, the spokesman for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, asserted it was not illegal for hawkers to sell Mandela T-shirts and portraits which did not bear his former prisoner number '46664.'
"We have a specified brand of clothing that we sell as a foundation to raise funds for good works," he told the AA in a telephone interview.
"We also authorize certain stores to sell those brands."
The restricted brands include a logo bearing Mandela's former prison number '46664'.
Book stores are also making a fortune out of Mandela’s illness.
Some of the country’s leading book stores have been promoting one of Mandela’s popular books, Long Walk to Freedom.
'As many as 30,000 newly displaced individuals may arrive in Makhmur over the coming weeks as the military offensive continues,' UNHCR says
'There has been a dramatic increase in detention of children since October 2015,' says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman
Report says most violations came during Jewish holiday of Passover
The talks will focus on 'how the conditions for a continuation of the peace talks in Geneva can be met, as well as how a reduction of violence and an improvement in the humanitarian situation in Syria can be achieved'
European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, will say Turkey must still implement further measures in order to access the passportless Schengen area without visas by June
Kosovo Football Federation president Fadil Vokrri said it was a 'historic moment'
Longstanding cement ban has prevented thousands of Gazans from rebuilding homes destroyed in Israel’s 2014 military onslaught
Villages in the Central African Republic are taking the battle into their own hands using donated radios and satellites to combat LRA rebels
On Tuesday, as lawmakers begin to examine the bill, unions and student organisations are expected to hold another demonstration at the National Assembly.
The Canadian media tycoon turned politician said family obligations forced him to resign as head of Parti Québécois less than a year after being elected
Bank says $20 million could have been made in S&P 500 futures trading alone
Analyst warns Iraq's Shia parties are divided after followers of Muqtada al-Sadr occupied parliament
Attack comes day after 36 people are killed by twin car bombings in Iraq's southern city of Al-Samawah
We agreed the G7 should send a strong signal in this sense,' Japanese PM says after talks with his Italian counterpart
'France forcefully condemns the (Damascus) regime's attacks that have caused many casualties (and) calls on the supporters of the regime... to use their influence on Damascus to silence the weapons,' foreign ministry says
Khartoum has stepped up its claim to the territories after Egypt transferred two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia