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Johannesburg – The Nelson Mandela Foundation on Wednesday launched a clothing line featuring garments marked with “46664”, the anti-apartheid hero’s prison number, as part of a fundraising campaign to counter HIV.

The line, manufactured by South African company Seardel, debuted at a leading Johannesburg store and includes men’s shirts, polos and jeans bearing the famous anti-apartheid “Hand of Africa” symbol as a logo. Women’s dresses of various colours are also available.

The items on offer on Wednesday are too expensive for most South African consumers, with polos going for R600.

Initially available in the Stuttafords chain of stores in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, the label hopes to open its own specialised shops next year and is looking to sell the products in Europe and the United States.

Between seven and nine percent of the revenue generated by the clothes will go to the Foundation, which is committed to battling the spread of HIV and Aids.

“When you buy a 46664 shirt, you are not just buying apparel. You are investing in a process that will help spread the legacy of Nelson Mandela by supporting the long-term sustainability of 46664,” said Achmat Dangorm, a foundation board member.

“You are also helping to positively stimulate the local clothing and textile manufacturing industry,” he added.

Mandela was given the number 46664 upon his arrival at South Africa’s Robben Island prison in 1964, where he remained until 1982.

He spent time in various prisons on the mainland until his release in 1990 and was elected president following South Africa’s first-ever free vote in 1994.

Source: IOL News – SAPA