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Madiba Shirt Story

Madiba Shirt Story

The Madiba Shirt was a creation for and with Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. 

In 1994, the designer Desre Buirski gave a gift of a hand-printed batik shirt to Nelson Mandela’s body guard, with a note saying “Thank you for everything you have done and the sacrifices you have made for our beloved country”. Mr Mandela wore the shirt the next day to the dress rehearsal for the opening of Parliament, and was photographed on the front page of a local newspaper.

Mr Mandela has received international acclaim for his anti-colonial and antiapartheid stance, having received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, and is held in deep respect within South Africa as the “Father of the Nation”, where he is often known under his Xhosa clan name of Madiba.

Desre Buirski subsequently designed many printed, embroidered and over 150 hand-painted silk shirts for South Africa’s beloved Madiba, which he wore on the world stage, becoming a global style as well as political icon. The style of ’The Madiba Shirt’ evolved as Mr Mandela requested various shirts throughout his time as President.

“He told me he liked earth tones. Needless to say over the years I have covered every shade of earth tone imaginable - as well as every other colour of the rainbow.”*

 “On one particularly memorable occasion in 1995 I received a call from Mary Mxadana saying that President Mandela had asked if I would make him a collection of special black silk shirts for his State visit to England as he had been invited to be a guest of her Majesty the Queen and was to stay at Buckingham Palace”*

His wife, Graca, has told me that he is “vain”, ­ always well dressed, neatly put together. This is as much about personal pride as it is about projecting an image of a man who is confident, successful and trustworthy**

Various styles of ‘The Madiba Shirt’ have been worn by some of the greatest men of our time, and continue to project confidence and individuality when worn by men of influence today. 

Madiba Shirt

 

* Desre Buirski. Mandela’s Shirts & Me

** Robin Curnow CNN - Mandela's Leadership Lessons

Dressing Mandela with Desré Buirski, the designer of the Madiba Shirt, 567 Cape Talk

Clothing Designer’s ‘Incredible Journey’ with Nelson Mandela, December 05, 2013, Darren Taylor

Madiba shirts designer speaks out, SATURDAY, 14 DECEMBER, Eyewitness News

Nelson: Through The Words Of Others, 06 December 2013, Howit msn

Behind the Madiba Shirt, 07 July 2007, Thamar Houliston

 

   
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  • Mandela's Shirt and Me - Desre Buirski

    Mandela's Shirt and Me - Desre Buirski

    R200 R0
  • Rainbow Nation

    Golden Peacock - Blue

    R1895
    SIZES: XL / XXL / 3XL / 4XL
  • Rainbow Nation

    Golden Peacock - Red

    R1895
    SIZES: S / M / XL / XXL / 3XL
  • Presidential Shirt - Multi Geometric Flower Burgundy

    Multi Geometric Flower Burgundy

    R1760
    SIZES: S / M / L / XL / XXL / 3XL / 4XL
  • Presidential Shirt - Multi Geometric Flower Blue

    Multi Geometric Flower Blue

    R1760
    SIZES: S / L / XL / 4XL
  • Presidential Shirt - Madiba Style

    Madiba Style

    R2250
    SIZES: S / M / XL / XXL
  • Presidential Shirt - Madiba Book

    Madiba Book

    R2250
    SIZES: S / M / L / XXL / 3XL
  • Presidential Shirt - Madiba Flowers

    Madiba Flowers

    R2250
    SIZES: S / M / L / XL / XXL / 3XL
  • Madiba Shirt Classic - Grey

    Madiba Classic - Grey

    R2250
    SIZES: S / M / L / XL / XXL / 3XL / 4XL
  • Rainbow Nation

    Madiba Classic - Blue

    R2250
    SIZES: S / M / L / XL / XXL / 3XL / 4XL
  • Rainbow Nation

    Long Walk To Freedom - Blue

    R1895
    SIZES: M / L / 3XL / 4XL
  • Rainbow Nation

    Long Walk To Freedom - Brown

    R1895
    SIZES: S / M / 3XL / 4XL
  • EGYPTIAN CHARIOT - Presidential Shirt

    EGYPTIAN CHARIOT - Brown

    R1895
    SIZES: M / XXL / 3XL / 4XL
  • Presidential Shirt - Egyptian Chariot Blue

    EGYPTIAN CHARIOT - blue

    R1895
    SIZES: M / XL / XXL / 3XL
  • Presidential Shirt - Gold Paisley Blue

    Gold Paisley Blue

    R1760
    SIZES: L / XXL

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