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.
French President Francois Hollande has refused to back down over labour market reforms as trade unions threaten protests.
Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was freed this week after two years in a Russian jail, has announced she is ready to become Ukrainian President
Arshad al-Salihi says civilian deaths in ongoing Fallujah operation caused by Iraqi army airstrikes
The UK is set to send warship to the Mediterranean to help tackle arms smuggling in Libya as Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
Three new possible pieces of debris found in Mozambique and Mauritius which will be sent to Australia for the examination by the investigators.
Djiboutian finance minister says new free trade agreement aims to increase China's presence in Africa and Red Sea regions
Russia, South Africa and eight other countries have voted against giving the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) consultative status at the UN
Members of the group decided that individual countries could adopt a go-your-own-way approach to growth plans
Israel has been pressuring the US and European countries to introduce legislation and take other repressive measures to confront the BDS movement.
1 Spanish journalist, 2 Colombians being held by the ELN in Colombia
Mikhail Gorbachev hit with 5-year ban for support of Crimea annexation by Russia
Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico says he will continue to oppose an EU quota plan regarding migrants
Donald Trump reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president on Thursday,
'In all touristic towns, there is a slight recovery,' tourism minister says
German chancellor says canceling sanction against Russia may harm the G7's credibility
European Commission head warns a G7 summit with politicians such as Trump, Le Pen, Boris Johnson, Beppe Grillo would be 'a horror scenario that shows well why it is worth fighting populism'