Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Did you know about the Mandela Effect?

I was quite puzzled by many references I found on the Internet to something called “the Mandela Effect”. It popped up in questions about Nelson Mandela on the Quora web site.

At first I thought it must be another term for the “Madiba Factor”, which referred to the fact (or perception) that if President Nelson Mandela was physically present at a sporting event, the South African team would win, or at least do well. This started from the day of his inauguration on 10 May 1994, when immediately after his inauguration he went to the FNB Stadium, where the South African football team beat Zambia in a friendly match.

The notion of the Madiba Factor was reinforced when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996.

The Madiba Factor: 3 Feb 1996: The captain of the winners of the African Cup of Nations Final Neil Tovey of South Africa holds the cup aloft after President Mandela presented it to him. South Africa won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Mark Thompson/ALLSPORT. And we were there, so not a false memory.

But it seems that the Mandela Effect was something else entirely.

The Mandela effect term was coined by Paranormal researcher named Fiona Broome after the the phenomenon of thousands remembering Nelson Mandela passing away in Prison in the 1980’s however the Same Nelson Mandela lived clear until 2013. He was the President of South Africa. Some have no memory of the prison situation and others only know of him being the President of South Africa. (Answers to “What is the Mandela Effect” on Quora).

But it’s funny — I don’t recall ever thinking that Nelson Mandela died in 1980, nor did I know of anyone else who thought so. So when I first heard about “the Mandela Effect” a couple of years ago it struck me as very weird indeed.

So I’m asking my friends and anyone who reads this — had you ever heard of the “Mandela Effect” before reading this? Did you ever, at any time, think that Nelson Mandela had died in the 1980s? I’m wondering if the belief that many people thought that Nelson Mandela died in the 1980s might itself be a false memory, and perhaps it should be called the Broome Effect rather than the Mandela Effect.

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5 thoughts on “Did you know about the Mandela Effect?

  1. David on said:

    Hi, Steve,
    Yes, I was under the impression in the 1980s that Mandela had died. I lived in USA at the time, which country is infamous for its poor coverage of international affairs in the news. I was aware of the so-called Mandela Effect – mass incorrect assumptions of facts.

  2. I never thought that Mandela had died. I was in the UK at the time. I can remember exactly what I was doing when he was released, too. I was in a pub in Bowland, Lancashire, and it was on the TV: him walking down that road. Amazing.

    • I first heard about it on the Quora web site, and have never seen it mentioned elsewhere, but it seems to be mentioned quite a lot there. It seems to be an example of fake news that a lot of people believed at the time, and perhaps it was only broadcast in the US. We were glued to the TV when he was released from prison.

  3. I had never heard of this, and (looking at it now) nobody seems to be explaining why this is a specific “effect” and not a common or garden urban legend. I guess needs must sell books.

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