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One million t-shirts for Madiba

Written by Amukelani Chauke

Mandela Centenary

A leading Cape Town textile and apparel firm has put its machinists at the forefront of a campaign to produce one million t-shirts to celebrate the Centenary Celebration of former President Nelson Mandela.

 Some of the ladies who are employed with Trade Call Investments (TCI) Apparel (PTY) Ltd wrote their stories on the t-shirts that will be sold locally and globally in line with the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebration.

TCI Apparel has partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to design, manufacture and sell t-shirts bearing Nelson Mandela’s image to raise awareness around the centenary celebrations. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the foundation.

Chief Commercial Officer Thilu Govender said the company was proud to be associated with the project.

“I think it has been amazing for us. When we look at the legacy of the great Madiba, we feel really proud that we are the pioneers of such an initiative jointly with the Foundation. It gives us a sense of pride that we have brought this campaign to all nations that knew and loved him.”

Govender said TCI decided to honour Madiba’s legacy by asking the seamstresses to write their own messages.

In their own words, the seamstresses crafted their own brief stories on the t-shirts.

“My name is Nomvula Masondo. I am a seamstress working in a clothing factory in Ladysmith, South Africa

“I made your special t-shirt with lots of care”.

 I have worked in the clothing industry for 35 years. My work has contributed tremendously to the quality of my life. With the money I earn, I am able to support my family and my eldest child who is doing second year at college.”

“My name is Chevonne Swarts. I am 28 years old. I am a seamstress working in a clothing factory in Cape Town, South Africa.

I am the mother of a 10 year old boy.

“I made your special t-shirt with lots of care”.

My dream is to educate and provide for my child. By buying this t-shirt you are contributing not only to my dream but to those of my fellow workers.”

Govender said the t-shirts were produced to have the DNA of Africa - with the fabric being sourced within the continent and the entire manufacturing value chain being localised.