Let's see T-Beek... 27 YEARS IN PRISON, In the US we would call him a felon. When he got out of prison, he could never vote, nor get a firearms license - never.
Sometimes in history you don't need to be assassinated to be a martyr. Slap a smiley face on an old man and all of a sudden you are a hero. I'm not saying this last statement describes Mandela, but the prior paragraph would describe him well.
Does it take a special person to lead people to freedom and arguably equality? Yes, but although we aren't talking about Lincoln (who would be 214 years old if he weren't assassinated by J.W. Booth in 1865) or the Kennedy's or LBJ (probably the least credited of all) and we can't forget the other often jailed black man, M.L. King who was arrested 34 times (sic) but that isn't my point.
People ALWAYS put a face to a cause, it is human nature - much like how people with innate leadership skills are chosen in group or team exercises. It is difficult to MAKE a leader, but it IS easy to create a figure head, I'm talking from Pope John Paul II (who surely had the respect of people FAR BEYOND the Catholic Religion) to other figure heads, as Mandela.
To read the stuff you write, I would think you know all this stuff already. The perfect example (I believe) is that we don't vote for the president, we vote for the president's speech-writers. Yes, kudos to the politician who can pull off the speeches, and goodbye to those who can't.
Classic example in the age of television. George H.W. Bush campaigned from city to city and state to state using the same tired speech that TV viewers saw hours earlier on TV news channels, they grew tired of hearing the same exact speech over and over, whether they caught it live in person, or later on TV, people wanted to hear something different - or at least in a new and refreshing order.
Bill Clinton had more speeches than suits and it won him the election.Clinton's people also noted that Bush could NOT stand a heckler. He would snarl and make the most awful faces - that was his "tell" and everywhere Bush campaigned, Clintoneers would place a few hecklers in the crowd. Because: It takes a lot to win and election, but doesn't take much to lose one. Remember "YEEEEHAAA!!!" I rest my case.
Not taking anything away from Clinton BEFORE you think I'm going there - I grew to like him and to be honest, quite quickly. I fell out of "like" with H.W Bush (as did many Americans) when he bowed down to the UN concerning taking Baghdad. History I'm sure will write it differently, but that is how I remember it, and it must be true - I saw it on CNN - lol.
Mandela was as good as the people who pushed and shoved him into the spotlight. Everyone (without exception) has people working their strings. He, as many historical figures had something in their favor that pushed them toward perceived greatness - his "thing" was frailty, you know the Mother Teresa, Gandhi thing - it worked well for Mandela and his puppeteers (no offense intended) used it well in his behalf.
Okay, I have to say it, yes he was only 95, and why was he struck-down at such a young age - oh the humanities. People act as if they didn't see this coming, he's been near death for months. I will guarantee that all the news services have had their Mandela's dead at __ reels on the shelf for years awaiting his demise.
Likely you think I'm too harsh, all Liberals are offended when you speak less than stellar about a person of color. You see Beemaster as picking on an old r frail (and now dead) black man, but Mandela himself fought for equal rights, not black rights and white rights - or so history will say. But I'll get to the only important issue: is the world a better place thanks to Mandela - yes. And frankly, that is the important issue, not that he was imprisoned for 27 years, but that when he exited back into society, the right people knew how to spin him into a historical figure.
It is rare in a persons life to see great people, I can only think of a handful of great ones, but many incredibly brave people who have reached the honored spot of HERO. I know that to many people Mandela is a Hero and who am I to judge otherwise.