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Nelson Mandela’s Style Remembered: His Signature Bold & Colorful Madiba Shirts

Nelson Mandela’s Style Remembered: His Signature Bold & Colorful Madiba Shirts


Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who served 27 years in prison for anti-apartheid activities and led South Africa into a new era, died at age 95 on December 5 21013

Much like Mandela’s freedom fighting comrades, his tireless campaign for civil rights and peace was heightened by the sophisticated and proud sartorial manner in which he presented himself. While the former president of South Africa certainly wore plenty of custom-made suits, it was his traditional Madiba shirts that comprised his distinguished and celebrated signature style. The bold and colorful printed shirts, named after Mandela’s African clan, became synonymous with the icon after he first debuted the look at South Africa’s first democratic Parliament in May 1994.

“What Mandela has accomplished for South Africa–and for the world as a whole–was so staggering that it might seem insulting to put it in the context of style. But it would be just as insulting to ignore it,” Zandile Blay, editor-in-chief of HELLO! Nigeria and adjunct journalism professor at Syracuse University, told The Huffington Post.

Mandela’s fashion-forward flair combined with his revered political legacy not only influenced others to adopt his eye-catching style (even to this day) but also inspired entire clothing collections.

“We can’t forget the essence of his struggle was affirming that the black African was just as much of a man as his white brother,” Blay said. “Mandela’s words and actions did this succinctly, but it was a wardrobe–as dignified and elegant and powerful as the man who wore them–which carried that message across visually.”

With that said, as we mourn of the loss of Mandela and celebrate his enduring legacy we’d also like to take a moment to celebrate his incomparable style.

Mandela At Ninety

Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa

Nelson Rolihlahla MANDELA, president of the republic of South Africa, president of the ANC ( African National Congress ) and winner of the Nobel Peace Price, during state visit in Germany.

De Beers Fashion Show In Aid Of Nelson Madela's Charity Foundation

Nelson Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Ma

The Laureus Sports Awards In Monaco City, Monaco On May 25, 2000.

Anwar Hussein Collection


Nelson Mandela arrives at the InterContinental Hotel

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Source: Huffington Post

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