As Howard University and the Embassy of South Africa prepare to honor the memory of Nelson Mandela tomorrow evening, I’ve noted an upswing in the amount of Mandela paraphernalia on the DC marketplace.
This weekend, I saw a wholesaler in the vicinity of Union Market with a stock of Nelson Mandela t-shirts hanging in their window. Yesterday, I was walking along Georgia Ave just north of Howard, and passed a similar storefront scene. I wonder if this apparel will continue to gain prominence in the way that t-shirts of men with much shorter lives, such as Che Guevara and Bob Marley have become staples. Perhaps this indicates that Mandela is seen by some as more of an anti-establishment icon than is generally accepted?
Newer readers can find some of my brief thoughts on Georgia Ave here.