As former president Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday approaches on July 18, Cabinet has urged South Africans to honour the globally-revered statesman by choosing to purchase local goods and services…

The government declared July Mandela Month, set aside to remember South Africa’s first democratically-elected president and a lawyer turned freedom fighter, who was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years before becoming president.

The South African Reserve Bank is to commemorate Mandela’s 100th birthday by issuing a new set of banknotes and R5 coins which feature images of the statesmen. He died in 2013 at the age of 95 after battling a lung infection for months at a Pretoria hospital.

Mandela’s face has been a prominent feature on the bank notes since 2012. However, the latest notes are expected to include images of him in traditional Xhosa attire, pertinent locations and images of monuments erected in his honour.

The United Nations has for years marked the occasion of Mandela’s birthday the 67 minutes initiative, where South Africans are urged to devote 67 minutes of the day to serving mankind or social benefit.

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However, with the need to transform the economy enjoying a great deal of prominence in the public discourse, Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane said Cabinet urged South Africans to honour Mandela by buying locally-made goods and supporting local business.

“On Friday, a special tribute to his concerns about jobs and young workers will be paid, when the Wear South Africa initiative with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union launches the Nelson Mandela T-shirt in Durban,” said Mokonyane.

Mokonyane said the shirt was locally produced and would be available at various retail stores. She said profits from the sale of the T-shirt would go towards the foundation to fund “activities consistent with his vision and life”.