Sat Dec 03 13:43:01 SAST 2016

Madiba's grandchildren launch fashion label

ANDILE NDLOVU | 2012-07-12 00:02:08.0
Former president Nelson Mandela's grandchildren, Swati Mandela-Dlamini and Zaziwe Manaway, launched a range of Madiba-linked T-shirts this week. Picture: ALON SKUY

Former president Nelson Mandela's daughter, Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, and her children say they are not competing with fashion label 46664 as they launch their own label ahead of his 94th birthday.

Their label, Long Walk To Freedom Clothing, was unveiled on Tuesday and will be sold on a website in an attempt to attract international customers.

Mandela-Dlamini, her daughters Zaziwe Manaway and Swati Dlamini, and her sons Zozuko and Zinhle Dlamini, inspired by the statesman's biography of the same name, began working on the range about two years ago.

The T-shirts, most of them black, white or grey, cost R249, hoodies are R399 and caps go for R129.

Mandela-Dlamini's two daughters sat down with The Times in Sandton yesterday to chat about their mother's new job as South Africa's ambassador to Argentina, their "stalled" reality TV show and fashion.

The Times: What persuaded you to come out with your clothing label?

Swati: We've been working on this for almost two years and the inspiration was obviously our grandfather's famous biography, which resonates with everyone.

Also his signature, his face and even the number 67, which is the time [years] of his life he dedicated to the liberation.

We wanted to celebrate him by starting off with a few images that we liked and a few simple things that we know people recognise and know of him - that speak to everyone.

The Times: I guess there is no better time to launch it than just before his birthday?

Swati: Yes, it's an important day - that's why we wanted the clothing to tie in with his birthday. It's very much the call to action and for people to give back and make a contribution to society like he did.

The Times: So you're bringing out new ranges annually, correct?

Swati: Yes, we'd also love to include other icons along the line because our grandfather is an all-inclusive person and, off the top of my head, we'd like to include our grandmother - we'd definitely love to celebrate her. Her birthday is soon too and we'd love to do something.

The Times: Will you be doing your bit for 67 minutes then?

Zaziwe: I must admit I'm not really involved like Swati [who will be visiting soup kitchens with NGO Cheesekids], so I haven't decided, but I'll probably do something back home in Qunu.

The Times: The 46664 range now has a pretty wide reach; does it make sense to come out with this?

Zaziwe: We're not worried. Our brand is different. Ours is a family brand and we're not in competition with 46664. We want something that'll have a global reach, that's affordable, premium and recognisable. We're excited.

The Times: In September, we met for the announcement of your reality TV show, but all we've heard since is Dorothy [Adjoa Amuah] pulling out because of business. What's up?

Zaziwe: We would love to talk about it but we signed a [non-disclosure agreement], but no, it's not been canned. We're still doing it - we just can't divulge anything right now.

The Times: Your mom is off to Argentina, hey?

Zaziwe: It's bittersweet. We want her to go though, it's a big opportunity, but we'll miss her dearly. We made her take the job, despite her being in doubt, saying she's never been to Argentina before. She's going at the end of September or so, and we're going to do a little going-away party just for her closest friends and family to send her off with lots of love.

Swati: Yeah, now she calls to tell us of so many interesting facts about the country. I've never been to Argentina either.

Zaziwe: Yeah, we're going there for Christmas.


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