Our Story

Born in 1994

Presidential was conceived from the Presidential Shirt brand, manufacturer and supplier of the Madiba Shirt.

“The Madiba shirt is a classic, not a fashion statement. Its rules are comfort and a dramatic graphic signature.”

Presidential has evolved and grown to include a variety of afro-centric products. It supports Made in South Africa. The authentic African apparel is made in our own factory in Cape Town.

Benefiting the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Presidential is built on quality, integrity, generosity, history and is very fortunate to have the honorable Nelson Mandela as is first brand ambassador. It seeks to promote his legacy and his values as embodied by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The Shirt that started the Trend


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.

Moments back in time

* 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 outSATURDAY, 14 DECEMBER, Eyewitness News

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

Behind the Madiba Shirt, 07 July 2007, Thamar Houliston


Presidential Shirt

Presidential Shirt, supplier of the Madiba Shirt. Contemporary and traditional designs combine African craftsmanship with Presidential luxury to present a collection of exquisitely crafted garments – notable for their quality and attention to detail.


Presidential Queen

Presidential Queen – Africa Haute Couture complimented with Ready to Wear designs for women of the world.




Madiba Shirt

The iconic shirt, an ode to our First President and iconic statesman, Nelson Mandela. Presidential was honored to have supplied many of the Madiba shirts to President Mandela.



Presidential Africa

Ubuntu. You and me both. Our common humanity, we all came from Africa. Supporting local craftsmanship.