Joe Biden’s campaign came out on Tuesday after a much-investigated claim he made that he was arrested while trying to see Nelson Mandela, and admitted that this was not the case.
Biden, 77, first told the story at a campaign event in Columbia, South Carolina on 11 February when he tried to shake off the defeat in New Hampshire, and repeated it twice during outreach to black voters.
“Today, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela left prison and argued about apartheid,” said Biden in Columbia of the former South African president, who had been imprisoned by the apartheid government for 27 years.
“I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our ambassador in the streets of Soweto in an attempt to see him on Robben Island, “Biden continued.
No simultaneous or other supporting evidence has emerged to support Biden’s extraordinary claim, making some people compare it to the so-called “Mandela effect,” a phenomenon in which a person’s vivid memory of a historical event or cultural touchstone is incorrect .
On Tuesday evening, after a debate that seemed to set him on track to win in South Carolina, his campaign said he hadn’t been arrested yet, Washington Post reported.
In fact, on the way to the anti-apartheid hero, he was separated from a convention delegation.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (left) ended up claiming he was arrested in South Africa while trying to visit Nelson Mandela (right) in prison – he said he was in fact separated from a convention delegation
Joe Biden claimed he was arrested in Soweto, a township in Johannesburg, nearly 870 miles from Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned
A prison cell can be seen on Robben Island, one of the places where Mandela spent 27 behind bars. Some falsely remember that he died in prison, the so-called “Mandela effect”
The Mandela effect is named after a common false memory that people report, saying they remember that Mandela died in prison in the 1990s. In fact, he was released and became president of South Africa. He died in 2013.
In two retelling of his story last week while he campaigned in Nevada, Biden’s story changed somewhat, dating from the alleged arrest until before he became engaged in 1977.
On Sunday, Biden described the happy ending of his story at a black history brunch in Las Vegas.
“After he was free and became president, he came to Washington and came to my office,” Biden said of Mandela.
“He put his arms around me and said,” I want to thank you. “I said,” What do you thank me for, Mr President? ” He said: “You tried to see me. You were arrested when you tried to see me. ”
Soweto, where Biden says he has been arrested, is 900 km away from Robben Island. Soweto, a historic and predominantly black suburb of Johannesburg, is known for the 1976 uprising there in protest against apartheid policies.
Soweto, where Biden says he has been arrested, is 900 km away from Robben Island
On Sunday, Biden repeated the story during a brunch with black history prizes (above) in Las Vegas
Biden visited South Africa repeatedly when he was an American senator, but no news reports or contemporary reports have been found reporting an arrest.
Biden did not mention such an arrest in his 400-page memo in 2007.
Andrew Young was the American ambassador to the United Nations from 1977 to 1979 and told the New York Times that he had accompanied Biden on various journeys to South Africa at that time.
But Young was skeptical that it would even be possible to arrest a sitting congressman in South Africa at that time.
“No, I was never arrested and I don’t think he was,” said Young, now 87. “I would not forget the prison sentence, but I know I have never been in South Africa prison.”
THE MANDELA EFFECT
The Mandela effect is the strange phenomenon where many people remember something in a certain way, but are wrong.
The name was made by paranormal enthusiast, Fiona Broome, who was convinced that she remembered Nelson Mandela died while in prison in the 1980s.
But Mandela’s death was not until 2013, despite Mrs. Broome, along with many others, who recalled seeing his funeral on TV in the 1980s.
While some people believe that this simply shows that memory is not as stable as we would like to believe, others, including Mrs. Broome, suggest that we have gone into a parallel universe, or that time travelers have gone in the past and our Gift.