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Remembering Nelson Mandela Realistically

by on December 6, 2013

As I am sure everyone has heard by now, Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday, and now people across the world are mourning him.  In the past 24 hours, I have read many articles in his remembrance.  All of the articles talk about his life, his activism, his imprisonment, and the ways his life affected Americans.  However, I only read one article, on, that talks about how U.S. President Reagan put Mandela’s African National Congress on the official list of terrorist groups and how Dick Cheney, a congressman at the time, voted against Mandela’s release from prison in 1985.  The article also talks about Mandela’s support of Fidel Castro and Muammar Qaddafi- that is to say that he was not also thought of in such a loving way.

My point in all of this is that as journalists, we should show the good and the bad in a person.  It is important to remember the truths about someone after they pass, both good and bad.  If we do not remember a person for all that they were, we are not truly remembering them.  In the case of Nelson Mandela, it is extremely important to remember all that he did and was, as there are lessons to learn from it all.  I am sure that we are all thinking about him today and will hopefully remember him and all that he did for a long time to come.


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  1. I must agree with this. When writing about someone or something, journalists should show both sides. Doing so will allow everyone see who they truly were and be appreciated for that person. Our duty as journalists is to provide the public with the truth and that would be the proper way to do it.

  2. arazsunshine permalink

    I agree with both of you. Telling the full story of such a major figure is hard, especially one who was beloved for all the positives that he worked towards. People would rather ignore the negatives if they can. If Mother Teresa did something awful in her life, lets say she murdered someone, at this point I’m sure we’d love to glaze over that. Likewise, if someone regarded as awful, such as Hitler, once did something wonderful like save a thousand puppies from a flood, we’d want to ignore it.
    Nelson Mandela did many good things, and the outcome of his actions has led to a positive connotation of his life. In order to fully commemorate his life accurately, it is important to mention the negatives and any disagreements that may have come up.

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