Well he is still with us. The last I heard is that he was still a various serious condition, but very mush still alive.
The last article I did for AOTB was more on the place of Mandela as a connection between today’s young African and his or her continent’s struggle against colonialism then, and neo-colonialism now. There is a whole bunch of us with only a surface grasp of what Mandela really stood for then and, in some ways thankfully, absolutely no experience of what horrors the African of that time had to deal with in the name of merely existing in that environment
In popular culture there are a number of Hollywood films which have touched on the issue of apartheid in general. I just the other day I saw a film (whose name I cannot remember) with Sidney Portier playing a black South African, helping Michael Caine’s oblivious white journalist in trouble with the law escape apartheid South Africa. There are also films about Mandela the person (Clint Eastwood’s Invictus). As far as historical significance, I would venture o suggest that these films, documentaries and so on do is a long way to fill a gap which our history teachers have sadly left wide open.
There is also a whole industry within pop culture based on, what I would call hawking the Mandela name as a commodity. All manner of projects, from charity, to consumer goods, t political campaigns within and outside of South Africa have leveraged the Mandela for their own benefit. Just recently I discovered that two of his own his grand daughters are stars in a reality based TV show very aptly called ‘Being Mandela.’ Without wanting to go and say this particular use is evil and the other isn’t, it did strike me as unusual for a name like Mandela with all his political history to be used to push commodities like a reality show for instance?
Is it a sign of the times we live in or something more specifically related to the apparent versatility of his name.