With hot summer weather and the high humidity expected at a coastal town, summer items like flip flops, t-shirts and caps have been flying off the shelves at the 106th anniversary celebrations of the African National Congress(ANC) in East London.

Luvo Duda from eKomani, formerly known as Queenstown, says the most common item at his stall is a cap costing R300. He says people love the OR Tambo centenary celebration cap. “We have sold many caps with president Tambo, as part of the celebration of a 100 years since tata Tambo’s birth.”

He says party leaders are often their top customers.

Duda says he arrived in East London on Monday. “Our leaders have been supportive. The provincial chairperson, Oscar Mabuyane is one of our biggest customers. He buys from us regularly.”

Duda says they have also received support from leaders from other regions counting Mondli Gugubele and National Secretary General Jessie Duarte among people who have supported his business.

Another merchandiser, Mbali Mdluli has come from Johannesburg to capitalise on the occasion. She says sales could be better. “We have been selling a lot of t-shirts, they are definitely the most popular item in our store.” Mdluli says their most popular t-shirt retails for R300.

Lee Mostert of Jay Promotions has also travelled from Johannesburg. It is neck ties that have been selling off her shelves. “I sell a range of promotional material, but ties are by far the most loved item.”

The merchandisers are excited about the prospects of the New Year. With celebrations focused on Albertina Sisulu and former ANC and State president Nelson Mandela, they expect 2018 to be a good year.

Duda says “In February we are introducing the Mandela centenary celebrations stuff, we expect those to do very well.”

He says they will be selling in East London until Sunday.