In January 2011, Nelson Mandela became a trending topic on Twitter as false rumors of his death circulated the world. He was 92 at the time and this was one in a long string of stories shaking the world’s confidence in his survival. Today, at age 94, those rumors seem more prophetic as the world waits to hear the news of his death and their loss.
At the time I wrote this article I was working with WordCast, a popular web publishing and WordPress-centric news and infotainment site. The site no longer exists and I’d like to republish the article here with some updates as the information and resources within it are still relevant today. Just a I wrote in 2011, it is my hope that Nelson Mandela will recover and be stronger again, though the world is prepared for the inevitable.
As we await the pending news on Nelson Mandela, the WordCast team has put together a helpful guide with resources, references, biographies, news, interviews, photographs, and videos featuring Nelson Mandela – just in case.
According to the Telegraph , his family and friends have told them that the time is close as they gather at his bedside, then turned around and reported that it’s a minor issue and Mandela is reported to be home within 24-48 hours after doctors treated him for a collapsed lung and/or respiratory infection.
News24 in South Africa reports  on the somber mood in his home village:
In Qunu, Nelson Mandela’s home village in Transkei, prayers and hope are being offered for its most famous son…There was an air of anxiety as locals dreaded the thought of hearing the worst news.
With the media banned from the hospital, and rumors flying, reporters take the sight of his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, leaving the hospital  in tears as proof that he is on his death bed, igniting rumors across the web and the world of his impending death.
An official statement for the media from the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the condition of the former President calls for restraint:
January 27, 2011 – The Presidency calls for calm and restraint amid reports that the media is camping outside a Johannesburg hospital where former President Nelson Mandela is hospitalised.
President Mandela is comfortable and is well looked after by a good team of medical specialists.
We urge the media to afford him the dignity and respect that he is entitled to as the country’s founding democratic President, as a national hero and also as a citizen of the Republic.
The media should balance the quest for stories with acting within the bounds of human decency and ensuring the respect for human dignity. The doctors also need to be allowed to do their work without undue pressure.
The odds are likely that Nelson Mandela will survive the next 48 hours to return home to his quiet seclusion, but at 92, his death is also to be expected. When is another matter, but that doesn’t stop efforts to honor and pay tribute to the man around the world as news media agencies, entertainment shows, bloggers and individuals prepare for the fact that he will go someday.
To help you prepare for that eventuality, here is a list of resources, references, image and video sources, biographies, news articles, transcripts, and quotes about Nelson Mandela to help you pay tribute in your own way.
Resources and References to Honor Nelson Mandela
Even before being released from his 27 year imprisonment, Nelson Mandela was news. From his imprisonment, attempt to be named Chancellor of the University of London while still in prison, rejecting repeated amnesty and freedom offers, Mandela remained a strong voice for opposition and positive leadership and freedom in South Africa.
Since his release in 1990, his life has been under a world-wide microscope and has brought hope to people and countries around the world with the hope of peace and reconciliation. While the man himself has receded from public view over the past few years, this hasn’t stopped many from paying tribute and describing his life recently, often from a very personal point of view.
There are thousands of perspectives on Nelson Mandela that can be pursued in paying tribute, honoring, or bashing his life and his political stance. While most will take a positive and hopeful view, some will recall the rumors of the prophetic “Night of Long Knives.” It is said that racists groups will create a mass genocide when white South Africans will be killed by blacks in an uprising. Guillaume Smit of The Emerging Bracken [site closed by 2013] wrote a plea for peace as a call to action in “If Nelson Mandela dies,” summarizing the volatile nature around Nelson Mandela.
If Mr Mandela should pass away, a mass outpouring of grief will follow. One of the heroes of our country will be dead, after all. People will probably take to the streets to show their sorrow. The criminal element will try to capitalise on this by common thievery. The police will struggle to restore order, and eventually succeed. The government will most probably show uncharacteristic leadership and (as it was the case with the murder on Eugene Terreblanche) succeed in steering the country through this difficult time. Right-wing groups will rant and rave and predict the genocide they are talking about since 19-who knows. Some families will pack up and flee. Julius Malema will either be kept quiet (I hope) or try to get political points for himself by ranting and raving against white people in general and rich people in particular (to promote his latest get-rich-quick scheme – nationalisation). The rest of us will live in uncertainty and fear until after the state funeral.
Perhaps we, as white Christians, could reach out to black people in this time with condolences and sympathy? We could talk to our black co-workers and colleagues about this sad moment, offering to pray for them and provide comfort in their sorrow. And among ourselves, we could openly choose to not believe the false stories. After all, the rumor of white people being killed en masse (kill all white men, rape the women and strangle the children) has circulated as long ago as 1986. And then mr Mandela wasn’t part of the rumor, as he was still in jail at the time. This one really is as old as it gets.
In 2008, a social media movement was created to create a Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18 to honor his life and celebrate his work. The mission of the day is fairly unique. It asks participants to work for 67 minutes to support a charity.
The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community.
Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals – for people everywhere – to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr Mandela did.
In 2009, the day was officially adopted by the United Nations.
In the social web world, many are turning to Facebook to show their grief and support for Mandela. There are many Facebook pages dedicated to Nelson Mandela, though it isn’t clear which are verified, if any, as legit. It hasn’t stopped Facebook fans from plastering many of these sites with good wishes. They include Mandela, Mandela, Nelson, I Love Nelson Mandela, Viva Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela, and Nelson Mandela International Day.
Among the officially verified social media sites, we’ve found the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation set up a Twitter account for Nelson Mandela reporting upon his status and offering quotes, news, announcements, and historical information.
Reporters, bloggers, and fascinated people are scouring the web and media for news bits, history, and photographs of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela’s Wikipedia page has seen a huge up tick in traffic in recent weeks.
While it is likely that Nelson Mandela may recover and live on another few years, at 92 years old, some like to plan for the inevitable. If you are considering covering Mandela for your blog or Facebook, here are some resources that may save you some research time.
For videos, Search – C-SPAN Video Library for Nelson Mandela videos and interviews and YouTube search, though many of these are tributes. Look for interviews, speeches, talks, and presentations to narrow the search.
Biographies of Nelson Mandela
- BBC News – Mandela's life and times
- Nelson Mandela Biography – Biography's Black History – Trivia, Timeline, Photos
- Nelson Mandela (president of South Africa) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- BBC NEWS | Africa | Audio slideshow: Nelson Mandela
- Nelson Mandela hero file
- Nelson Mandela Biography from Who2.com
- Nelson Mandela | Who's Who South Africa
- Short Biography Nelson Mandela
- Nelson Mandela | The Elders
- Biography: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
- BANGLADESH World News: Life History of Nelson Mandela (biography)
- 'Mandela' by Peter Hain book review from Africa Magazine Online – ReConnect Africa
News Stories and Editorials on Nelson Mandela
- Nelson Mandela TIME Magazine – Search Results for stories about and by Nelson Mandela
- John Harvard's Journal, November-December 1998 – Nelson Mandela “Mandela and Annan, What the World Needs Now”
- African National Congress
- Nelson Mandela News and Photos Archives from the LA Times
- U.S. has Mandela on terrorist list – USATODAY.com (2008)
- Nelson Mandela latest news on the Telegraph UK
- Zindzi marks 50th birthday in style – Sowetan LIVE (daughter of Mandela pays tribute)
- Nelson Mandela – An International Tribute for a Free South Africa by myrockdatediary – personal tribute and memories
Interviews, Speeches, and Documentaries with Nelson Mandela
- CNN Transcript – Larry King Live: President Nelson Mandela One-on-One – May 16, 2000
- Nelson Mandela – IMDb
- Frontline: The Long Walk Of Nelson Mandela
- Nelson Mandela: Inaugural Address Transcription from University of Pennsylvania – African Studies Center
Nelson Mandela Organizations, Foundations, Museums, and Archives
- Nelson Mandela Foundation
- Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (Canada)
- Nelson Mandela – 20 years of Freedom Visual History Archive
- Nelson Mandela – Biography – Nobel Prize Awards
- Nelson Mandela's Charity Work, Events and Causes on Look to the Stars World of Charity Giving
- Nelson Mandela Children's Fund
- Nelson Mandela Museum
Books About Nelson Mandela
There have been many books written by, for, and about Nelson Mandela, including a “authorized” comic book. There have been books about his leadership and presidency, and many about the man and his struggles before, during, and after his imprisonment. There are books about how he influenced a nation, its people, and the world, and books about how Mandela changed people’s lives. There are movies about him as well as documentaries – enough material to create a vast library of nothing but Nelson Mandela.
The rumors flying around the social web are not just hoaxes. Today, they are based upon the concerns of the world towards this humanitarian as he struggles with his health. It also says something about the man and his impact on that world, that so many would care to Tweet, blog, report, and Facebook about someone they’ve never met and yet were touched by his life.
From all of us at WordCast, we wish Nelson Mandela a speedy recovery and peaceful days towards the end of his life. For the rest of us, we wish you will use his life as a symbol and motivation in your blogging and social web lifestream. He is an icon for courage, faith, determination, discipline, unity, peace, and most of all, hope.
Thank you for allowing me to share this 2011 WordCast post with you as we await the news and honor Nelson Mandela. Keep our thoughts with him and his family during this time, as well as for the people whose lives have been directly impacted by his life.