Media giant BBC has come under fire after describing former President of Africa Nelson Mandela as the country’s “first black president.”
In a letter to The Hindu former veteran Indian journalist M.S. Prabhakara writes:
“It is disgusting, but not surprising, that the BBC in its online world news bulletin should consistently describe Nelson Mandela, lying critically ill in a Pretoria hospital, as “South Africa’s first black president” instead of more accurately, and more relevantly in political terms, as South Africa‘s first democratically elected president.”
M.S. Prabhakara was formerly The Hindu’s first correspondent in South Africa.
With a racial divide that tore much of the country apart the fact that Nelson Mandela became the countries first president has led many publications to call him “the first black president” of South Africa.
Commenters on the BBC have fully disagreed with Prabhakara’s attack against the news agency. One commenter writes “It’s right to say he was the first black president” while another suggests “Apartheid was about racial segregation. His skin color is significant as much as his politics.”
Nelson Mandela’s family has not commented on the journalists comment to The Hindu. Instead Mandela’s family has stayed by his side since he was admitted to Pretoria hospital on June 8, 2013.
Mandela is most definitely an international symbol for the fight towards democracy and that will of course never change. On the other hand he is also the first black man to become president in a country that just 31 years earlier had placed him in prison for his fight against the country’s apartheid.
Do you think the BBC erred in calling Nelson Mandela Africa’s first black President or is this much adieu about nothing?