The Mandela Effect, Like Déjà vu

By Phuthego Precious Nthoke 

Have you ever remembered something that probably never happened? As crazy as it sounds, this is more common that you would think. This phenomenon is known as ‘false memory,’ better known as ‘The Mandela Effect’

This term was popularized in 2010 when a sizeable portion of the population believed that the late President Nelson Mandela had passed on while serving his sentence in the late 1980s, which obviously is untrue as he was very much alive during that time. Despite many people going through various means to prove this, claiming to have seen clips of the funeral, no tangible evidence was presented to play in their favour.

Scientists later explained why and how this ‘effect’ emerged, citing the ‘misinformation effect.’ This touches on the fact that the information acquired after an event has occurred, interferes with the way you remember it. In the case of Nelson Mandela, another well-known activist Steve Biko, passed during that time and most people remember is being Mr Mandela. The death of one popular activist and the incarceration of another triggered people’s brains into falsifying memories and intertwining these events. 

To this day, many examples of the Mandela effect continue to surface with many people believing their fabricated memories to be true. One example might be that Curious George the cartoon character had a tail although throughout that show he never had a tail, but most people remember him having one. This interesting phenomenon makes us question whether our memories are true or fabricated.

What Mandela effect have you came across?

Photo credit: Magda Ehlers  

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