- Published: November 14, 2022
- Updated: November 14, 2022
- University / College: University of Nottingham
- Level: College
- Language: English
- Downloads: 33
Nelson Mandela: The Good and the Bad “ Mandela rightly occupies an untouched place in the South African imagination. Hes the national liberator, the savior, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one. Whenever you give a speech here, you refer to Mandela as ” the Icon.” And in his time, Mandelas transcendent forgiveness and his flair for reconciliatory symbolism was what midwifed the South African miracle” (Eve Fairbanks, para 4).
I have to admit, Nelson Mandela is a good politician. People all look up to him as symbol of peace and freedom not only in his home, South Africa but the whole world. He not only has compassion and fairness to all but also a sense of justice and freedom that every human being deserves. We know all these because the media covered and made sure that the people know of him and his fight. The good things Mandela did and his fight for justice and freedom had great impact on the world because it made us realize our shortcomings when it comes to being member of a community of people. But nobody is perfect. Nelson Mandela may have been a good politician and freedom fighter; he may have the good and the best interest of the people in his heart and mind but as a family man, he is just like other ordinary people; with faults and negative traits.
In an article, David Jones said “ During his epic struggle, he took a conscious decision to put the interests of ‘ the nation’s family’ above his own, often neglecting his role as a husband and father… He mistreated his late first wife, Evelyn, leaving her to raise their three children alone; and abandoned his second, Winnie, and their two young daughters, to become a fugitive revolutionary during which time he had countless affairs” (para 13).
In the article “ Nelson Mandelas daughter: I dont know if my father loves me. Sometimes children are not really loved by their parents” by Sharon Feinstein, she stated that “… in a report filed during their divorce in 1957, Evelyn claimed her husband repeatedly assaulted her and even threatened to kill her with an axe unless she left their home in Soweto. Mandela disputed her claims and they were never tested in a court of law” (para 22).
According to the book Mandela: The Authorized Portait, “ Despite the bitterness and rancor that prevailed at the end of their marriage, Mandela never had anything but respect for his wife, whom he regarded warmly as a strong person and a good mother. Yet he was soon about town with his long-standing and supportive secretary, Ruth Mompari, or the lively Lilian Ngoyi, then president of the ANC Women’s League (p. 74)”.
In the interview by Sharon Feinstein, Dr Makaziwe Mandela, Mr. Mandela’s oldest surviving child said,
“‘ I really do think he could have done things a little bit differently. Even now, when he’s got more time, he doesn’t make the effort to really engage. He’s open and extrovert to the world, but awkward in his intimate personal relationships with his own family.’ (para 14). .. My mother used to say, “ I did all of those things for your father and then when he had made it, he showed me the door”. She also used to say that Winnie [the second Mrs Mandela] was not the cause of her marriage break-up. Yes, my dad likes beautiful women but I think she was not the cause, there were other ladies before her (para 18)”.
Nelson Mandela was 26 when he married 23-year-old Evelyn in Johannesburg in 1944. But by the time Maki was born in 1953, her father was already an increasingly distant figure at home. He had gained a reputation as a charismatic and ambitious lawyer and civil-rights activist. He was also, according to many who were there at the time, an unabashed womanizer (Feistein, para 21).
‘ I still think that after he was released, he should have created some space for the family, for his children. We were ignored, or at least not acknowledged, while he was preoccupied with politics (Feistein, para 13).
Another article I came across with was David Jones’ Mandelas Family Feud: The Great Unifier presides over a family riven by hatred. In the article, Jones presented the story of Mandela’s sister, a very sick old woman living with 11 relatives in one, round-shaped room whose mud walls are dyed with blue lime…They all sleep in just four beds, and eke out a living on £158 a month in welfare hand-outs, £44 of which goes towards her granddaughter’s school fees (para 7-8). The woman is Nothusile Nokutamba — the only one of Nelson Mandela’s brothers and sisters still living (Jones, para 5).
“ Nelson is a great man, but he has done nothing for us,’ says Gloria, acidly, as she clutches her mother’s frail hand. ‘ Is it right that his sister must live her last years like this?” (Jones, para 8).
As a man, I could say he is a good one. He may be a good politician and leader but being a husband and a father, Mandela for me was a disappointment. He could have been good at both, rightly dividing his time between politics and family. It would have been a good family life that his wife and children would have had. Is Nelson Mandela a good man? Yes and no. As I have said earlier, nobody is perfect.
Fairbanks, Eve. Father Disfigure — How Nelson Mandelas Legacy Hurts South Africa. 8 September 2009. Web. 6 December 2012.
Feinstein, Sharon. Nelson Mandelas daughter: I dont know if my father loves me. Sometimes children are not really loved by their parents. 16 October 2010. Web. 6 December 2012.
Jones, David. Mandelas Family Feud: The Great Unifier presides over a family riven by hatred. 4 February 2011. Web. 6 December 2012.
Mandela, Nelson. Mandela: The Authorized Portrait. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. 2006. Print.
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