The story of Nelson Mandela’s life is one that is not usually told in American classrooms as often as other great revolutionaries. Mandela was a revolutionary leader in his younger years and later went on to become the president after being elected in the first racially all-inclusive election ever held in South Africa. In between that rise, Mandela was serving a life imprisonment sentence before being paroled. With all of his amazing achievements, it’s so strange that he is often not discussed in classrooms across the world.
Luckily, a reality show is telling the story of Mandela’s past as well as giving us a look into his family’s present. The show, titled “Being Mandela,” premiered on Cozi TV on Sunday, Feb. 10. The series encompasses thirteen episodes and coincides with the 23rd anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison. Not only does the series help viewers learn more about Mandela’s past, his grandchildren are also learning about their family’s heritage. His grandchildren recently took an emotional trip to the prison where Mandela was held. “We didn’t want to go for years and years, because that’s where my grandfather was,” Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway, Mandela’s granddaughter, recounted. “It was a painful place and we didn’t want to relive it“.
Mandela’s grandchildren also spoke of their own experiences during childhood while their grandfather was imprisoned. “There were always reminders of the fact that far away, back at home, there are people who were fighting for the liberation of the country. So there are certain things that we wouldn’t do as a family,” Swati Dlamini, Mandela’s other granddaughter, said. “We would never put up a Christmas tree. [Our mother would say], ‘We have no reason to celebrate. Once your grandfather gets out of prison, if he ever does get out of prison, then we can celebrate.’ Even my sister’s birthday we couldn’t celebrate.” This new series is a great outlet for introducing Mandela’s legacy to a new generation.
In the U.S., reality shows generally have a negative influence on society, but hopefully this show will be nothing like American reality TV shows.