The Branding of Nelson Mandela

Will the legacy of Nelson Mandela, who passed away last week at age 95, be cheapened by all kinds of consumer goods?

“From political posters to bottles of wine and kitchen aprons, the face and name of Nelson Mandela are a potent commercial and political brand in South Africa,” reports Reuters.

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Mandela divided the management of his legacy between a series of trusts to handle his finances and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which serves as custodian of his wider moral legacy, the news service reports. A portion of the revenue from Mandela Foundation’s 46664 clothing line — named for his prisoner number during his years at Robben Island --and from artwork pays for family members’ education, according to Reuters. Mandela didn’t sanction everything that uses his name. There are dozens of companies registered with the South African government that use the Mandela name.

Among some of those products is “House of Mandela,” a line of wines started by one of Mandela’s daughters and a granddaughter. Mandela had said he didn’t want to be associated with alcohol or tobacco, Reuters reported.

“The scramble for control of the Mandela legacy -- both financial and moral -- will involve his family, the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and the Nelson Mandela Foundation he set up to protect his broader message,” Reuters writes. “At stake is the inheritance that will go to Mandela’s more than 30 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, some of whom already use the Mandela name and image to market everything from clothing to reality TV.”

Mandela’s grandchildren created a collection of caps and sweatshirts with Mandela’s image under the brand “Long Walk to Freedom,” the title of their grandfather’s autobiography.

“This is what we are, in a sense, entitled to, that my father worked for, and he did it with his own hands to create something for the welfare and upkeep of himself and his children,” daughter Makaziwe Mandela told the Financial Times in April.

Why is it wrong or “sacrilegious” for Mandela’s children to profit in this way? she asked.

Color of Money Question of the Week

So, should Mandela’s heirs profit from his legacy? Send your response to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “The Branding of Nelson Mandela” in the subject line, and please include your full name, city and state.

Live Chat Canceled Today

I’ll be attending a conference, so today’s regularly scheduled chat is canceled. Join me next Thursday, Dec. 19, at noon ET for my last live online discussion of the year.

The 21-Day Financial Fast

Are you ready for a change when it comes to your finances? Tired of not having any savings? Beaten down by debt?

Then try something different. Try a financial fast. Hitting stores soon is an updated and expanded edition of my last book. The name has changed, there is a lot of new material but the fast is the same. You spend three weeks only buying what is necessary. And you can’t use credit.

The power in the fast is the daily chapters – 21 of them – to help guide you to financial freedom. Every day, I have you tackle a different topic – saving, tithing, getting out of debt, learning to rid yourself of any sense of entitlement that has prevented you from achieving some level of financial peace.

You can preorder “The 21-Day Financial Fast” at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Get it before it’s in stores, and save money.

For those who purchase the book before January, I have a special offer. I’m giving a private budget consultation to one lucky winner. If you live in the local Washington area, we can do it in person. Otherwise, we’ll communicate by telephone or e-mail. I’ll give you a template to develop a budget, and then we’ll talk about areas where you can change or improve to make your budget balance.

You must provide proof of purchase and write a brief essay (500 words or less) about your desire to have financial peace and freedom.

I’m also looking for people who are interested in writing about their experiences during the fast. Starting Jan. 13, we’ll fast together for 21 days. During the fast, we’ll discuss the program. I’ll post your progress and frustrations on Twitter using the hashtag #financicalfast. We can chat on Facebook. I’ll answer questions and cheer you on.

If you’re interested in joining the 21-day financial fast, send your information to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “21-Day Financial Fast “ in the subject line, and please include your full name, contact number and e-mail address.

You can fast to financial freedom in 2014!

Waitress Tip Story Was a Hoax

A New Jersey waitress was recently fired from her job for falsely accusing a family of refusing to leave her a tip because of her sexual orientation, reported ABC News.

Dayna Morales, a server at Gallop Asian Bistro, claimed that instead of tipping her for waiting on them at the restaurant, the couple left an anti-gay note that said, “I’m sorry I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle.”

The news made national headlines after a gay advocacy Web site, Have a Gay Day, posted a receipt containing the offensive note on its Facebook wall. The posting led to an outpouring of responses and nearly $3,000 in donations to the waitress.

Days later, however, the unidentified couple returned to the restaurant to show the actual receipt from their meal, and a bank statement, noting a charge of $93.55 with an $18 tip.

After the hoax was uncovered, Gallop Asian Bistro issued this statement on its Facebook page: “In light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future.”

There are so many lessons in this story, but the one I’ll pass on is be careful about giving money when you hear about these type of stories.

Holiday Tipping

And since we are on the topic of tipping: CNBC has compiled a list of suggested gratuities for people who provide services to you during the year.

Read the list from the article “Don’t skip the tip and other tips for the holiday season” here.

Tia Lewis contributed to this report.

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to postbusiness.com.

 
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