Twitter has a field day after Joe Biden says he was arrested trying to meet Nelson Mandela

24 February 2020 - 11:31 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Former US vice-president Joe Biden.
Former US vice-president Joe Biden.
Image: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

“There are white lies and then there are Joe Biden's lies.”

Social media continues to have a field day after US presidential candidate Biden said he was arrested “on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see Nelson Mandela on Robben Island”.

In a viral video, Biden is addressing a crowd before describing events that allegedly took place three decades ago.

“This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid,” Biden said. “I had the great honour of meeting him. I had the great honour of being arrested with our UN ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robben Island.”

The original video was posted on the SouthCarolinaETV YouTube channel on February 11, 30 years after Mandela was released from prison after the unbanning of political organisations such as the ANC, PAC and SACP.

Biden's claims were thrust into the spotlight again when a New York Times article revealed that Biden had never spoken about the arrest until the 2020 presidential race.

According to the publication, former civil rights activist and Georgia congressman Andrew Young, who was a US ambassador from 1977 to 1979, recalled travelling to the country with Biden, but not getting arrested.

“No, I was never arrested and I don't think he was either. I don't think there was ever a situation where congressmen were arrested in SA.”

The claims have been questioned and the geography has left social media users in stitches — Robben Island, in Table Bay, is 1,239km from Soweto.

Here is a snapshot of the reactions.