Former Time Editor Rick Stengel on Mandela: ‘We Have Kind of Made Him into a Santa Claus. He Wasn’t’

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former Time magazine managing editor Rick Stengel elaborated on his piece remembering former South African President Nelson Mandela. Although he spoke very complimentary of Mandela, he cautioned people about making him out to be a “Santa Claus” figure.

Partial transcript as follows:

“He had a great mission. And one of the lessons, too, is that he had one gigantic principle, which is to bring freedom and democracy to his people. Everything else was a tactic. He was a pragmatic politician. He wasn't a visionary, necessarily. He wasn't a philosopher. He wasn't a saint. But that – he never deviated from that. Anything that would get him there he embraced including violence, which he took the ANC created the spirit of the nation. He created the violent wing of the ANC. And people don’t realize that or remember that. We have kind of made him into a Santa Claus. He wasn’t. He was a revolutionary.”

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