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All Nelson Mandela’s archives, from personal letters to his Codesa notes and more, will be available online as a significant world heritage after a deal was made with Google.
ALL of Nelson Mandela’s personal archives will be digitised and will be publicly available online, while a 46664 clothing line will raise funds for the global HIV/Aids awareness and prevention campaign.


Achmat DangorAll Mandela's archives will be available to the public, says the Foundation's chief executive Achmat DangorThe two partnerships are with Google, the internet giant, and Seardel, the local clothing and textile manufacturer.

As part of its partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory, Google has invested $1,25-million (about R8,6-million) into the project, which aims to put Mandela’s information online. The partnership was announced at the foundation in Houghton on Tuesday, 8 March.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said the grant would help to preserve and give unprecedented digital access to thousands of archival documents, photographs and audio-visual material about the life and times of Mandela.

“We are delighted that Google has come on board to help ensure that our Mandela Portal becomes a world-class source of accurate and reliable information about Madiba,” said Verne Harris, the head of the Centre of Memory.

The online multimedia archive will include Mandela’s letters and correspondence with family, comrades and friends, prison diaries as well as notes made during the Congress for a Democratic South African (Codesa), where negotiations to end apartheid were held.

Hundreds and thousands more documents scripted by Mandela since the 1960s are being sought from private collectors and foreign governments.

Luke Mckend, the country manager for Google South Africa, said the grant would help to expand Mandela’s online archive and make it available to global audiences, especially scholars and researchers.

He explained that Google wanted to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the internet offered new ways to preserve and share this information. “Our grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre will facilitate new digital archives for South Africa’s past, giving the global public an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the history of some of the most extraordinary leaders of our time,” he explained.


Documents (Photo: Nelson Mandela Foundation)The online multimedia archive will include Mandela's personal letters (Photo: Nelson Mandela Foundation)The foundation’s chief executive, Achmat Dangor, said Mandela’s information would be accessible to the general public unreservedly; however, he hoped people would not plagiaries it or use it for profit.

Digitizing all of Mandela’s archives will take until 2012 to finish; thereafter, all information will be easily accessible. “We hope they will be used for research and educational purposes,” said Dangor.

Google said it had also given a grant of the same size to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitisation of Tutu’s archives and an interactive digital learning centre.

In the clothing partnership, branded clothing will carry the 46664 number and an outstretched hand. The apparel would not feature Mandela’s face as it was not to be used for commercial purposes, the foundation emphasised. The clothing range would also not be modelled on something Mandela would wear.

Nonetheless, its design detail would represent Mandela’s legacy. “We will not use Madiba’s image or name in any of our merchandise. There is resistance to commercialisation of Mandela,” said Dangor, who is also a 46664 board member.

The clothing range is being launched to raise funds for and to sustain Mandela’s humanitarian legacy, which includes projects like 46664 and Nelson Mandela Day. The foundation said it could no longer depend on philanthropy to fund its projects.

“46664 needs reliable and sustainable income streams, something we believe the 46664 apparel can significantly contribute to,” noted Dangor.

The clothing range would feature business and casual wear, with prices ranging from R189 to R600. The foundation had partnered with Seardel, South Africa’s largest clothing and textile manufacturer, to launch the brand. Brand ID, a division of Seardel, was responsible for its design. Other collaborations with leading local and international designers can be expected in future.


46664 clothing (Photo: Nelson Mandela Foundation)46664 is launching a clothing line (Photo: Nelson Mandela Foundation)The foundation said about 40 percent of the clothing would be manufactured locally and merchandise would also be available at an online store soon to be launched.

Dangor urged people to buy the clothing and support Mandela’s legacy. “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 46664,” he explained.

Profit generated from the range would also help to empower young people in poorer communities and create a platform for global change.

Shwe-shwe material has been used in some of the shirts to reflect African authenticity with a global feel. For women, the items are in styles that are in fashion, as well as in classical styles with local and international appeal. Men’s shirts, blazers and chinos are also available, according to the 46664 website.

The range will be officially launched in August, and will be sold at a standalone shop Joburg, among other stores around the country. Stuttafords is a key retailer, and there will be an online shop for a broader market.

The website says 46664 has expanded its focus from a global HIV/Aids awareness and prevention campaign into encompassing all areas of Mandela’s humanitarian legacy and confronting issues of social injustice. Mandela’s prison number, 46664 was established in 2002 as an independent, not-for-profit organisation.

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