We look at the story behind the colourful hand-painted silk batik shirts made famous by our very own Nelson Mandela.
Presidential Shirt is the brand behind the Madiba Shirt, the famous silk batik tops worn by former president Nelson Mandela. In 1994, fashion designer Desré Buirski gave one of her hand-painted batik shirts to Mandela’s bodyguard, with the following note: “Thank you for everything you have done and the sacrifices you have made for our beloved country.”
The next day, Madiba was photographed in the shirt at the dress rehearsal for the opening of Parliament. He went on to wear more than 150 of these special shirts gifted by Buirski during and after his time as president of South Africa.
“I wear these shirts to represent my people,” said Mandela, “and their struggle, and to represent the beautiful, diverse cultures and traditions of Africa.”