By Samuel Burke, CNN
Each time Nelson Mandela enters the hospital, the whole world holds its breath – fearing the worst.
Mandela hadn’t been seen in public since his latest brush with ill health last month. But now he's emerged in pictures taken at his home on Monday, flanked by current leaders of his African National Congress party, including South African President Jacob
Rather than comforting, though, the pictures have sparked outrage on social media in the Rainbow Nation.
Zuma and the other leaders are accused of exploiting the ailing leader, putting a frail and uncomfortable 94-year old on public display.
The incident comes on top of Mandela's own family mining his legacy. His granddaughters appear in a reality show called "Being Mandela," in which the family shows the business of Mandela-branded wines and clothing lines.
Eusebius McKaiser is a South African political analyst and an expert in moral philosophy, and he says neither the photos of Mandela nor the outrage surprise him.
“It's what politicians do the world over. They try and tap into brands that are popular and the reality is that brand Nelson Mandela is a powerful global brand. It's right up there with Coca-Cola. It's as familiar as the Red Cross signature,” McKaiser told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “The backlash is justified, because we all want Nelson Mandela's image to be politically virtuous.”
The Mandela brand will continue long after Mandela does pass, McKaiser believes.
But part of the backlash has nothing to do with the ANC party, McKaiser told Amanpour. Bur rather, it has to do with South Africans wanting Nelson Mandela to be immortal.
“I think the imagery was a shock to our psyche because many of us did not want to see evidence of our worst fear. And our worst fear is evidence that Nelson Mandela is merely mortal,” McKaiser. “But at the moment, all the attention is focused on the political opportunism - and rightly so.”
There has also been backlash on social media against some of the Mandela family members engaged in the "Being Mandela" reality show.
“The difference is that when people capitalize on brand names the world over, they don't capitalize on brand Nelson Mandela. And so for better or worse, the family members of Nelson Mandela have inherited the brand name that, unfortunately, is imbued with political virtue. And when you commercialize political virtue, of course, you're going to be susceptible to criticism the world over."
McKaiser believes the commercialization of Mandela deserves the scorn that it has received.
“In the final days of Nelson Mandela's bodily existence, his family should be dignified because that is what his legacy demands. And so I think the public outcry in relation to the family infighting is entirely appropriate.”