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Hundreds 'remember' Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980s: Inside the Mandela Effect

06 November 2019 - 14:51 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Many people from different parts of the world 'remember' struggle icon Nelson Mandela 'dying' in the 1980s, long before he became president of South Africa.
Many people from different parts of the world 'remember' struggle icon Nelson Mandela 'dying' in the 1980s, long before he became president of South Africa.
Image: Media24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Many people from around the world, including paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, remembered SA's former president Nelson Mandela "dying" in the 1980s on Robben Island, long before he became SA's first black president.

In fact, Mandela died on December 5 2013, after leaving prison and becoming the country's first post-apartheid president.

This misremembering of events and historical facts, is a phenomenon which is being labelled the “Mandela Effect”.

Upon interviewing hundreds of people, Broome discovered that many had a different recollection of details, including when Mother Teresa was sanctified, the death of Neil Armstrong and how many states make up America.

Sharing her own encounter with the Mandela Effect, Broome posted on her website how she remembered Mandela's widow delivering a sombre speech, riots in SA and even clips of the struggle icon's funeral.

“See, I thought Nelson Mandela died in prison. I thought I remembered it clearly, complete with news clips of his funeral, the mourning in SA, some riots in cities and the heartfelt speech by his widow.”

On her site she also shares stories of more than 500 people who too thought Mandela died long before his actual death.

Robert Crowder said he learnt of Mandela's death in the mid-80s in his geography class. “I was in high school in the mid-80s and I remember that we discussed Mandela's death in my geography and economics classes.”

Another, Danielle, said, “I remember in Grade 4 in 1997 when I learnt Nelson Mandela was dead. It was black history month. My confusion later in life when I heard about him in the news, I was baffled that I believed for so long and so surely that he had died.”

There is a scientific explanation as to why many people have “false memories” about certain events.

Harvard neuroscientist Steve Ramirez said, in a post on his website, that when storing memories in the mind, human beings also store details such as smell, mood and even sounds associated with those memories in the part of the brain called the hippocampus.

This brain machinery, according to Ramirez, is not only responsible for this, but it also reconstructs the past. The brain also uses the hippocampus to imagine our future selves. Because of this Ramirez said memories were hardly ever 100% accurate, as the brain constantly modifies them with bits of information.

So big is the Mandela effect, there is now a movie named after the phenomenon. A teaser trailer is already out and the film will premiere on December 6.

The Mandela Effect tells the story of a father who suffers intense grief after the sudden death of his daughter. While mourning her, he has bizarre visions, leading to a realisation that the Mandela Effect isn’t just real, but that parallel realities and existence are too.