Comparing The lives Of Two Icons: Mandela And Princess Diana As Their Lives Parallel

A Billy Joel Song says, “Only The Good Die Young, Is that the case? Consider Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana for instance. Maybe that is a slight way to debunk Billy Joel`s song even when we had seen many good people die young. At some point it began to feel a lot like it, as many young people continued to die over the years. But an artist like Billy Joel knows better, or honestly, there is some truth to the song as it is relatable. It is a well-crafted song whether you have lost someone or not

But the recent loss of Mandela at the age of 95 shows how fragile life is and how unpredictable it is too because we never know when one is to die (parts of the unknown).In reality, too, we are also accustomed to seeing the deaths of too many young people who had helped solidify that only the good die young. But Mandela was a good man, selfless, kind too, and was very forgiving, which earned him admiration. But he didn’t die young. It is not easy to ignore what has just happened and be tempted to compare Diana and Mandela, but we can`t ignore them as both their lives parallel each other.

They were both good people with extraordinary power to create peace around themselves. They are revolutionaries. Ironically, they both vacated the most prestigious places on their terms after they found out it would no longer serve its purpose. They were both separated in their marriages before the final divorces. Mandela evidently asked for separation from his wife of 32 years, while Prince Charles in Diana’s case asked for separation from her.

They were both marred with scandals as the news of their infidelities created the most attention. Both these two individuals are both loved globally; they both suffered rejection both in their lives and relationships. They were divorced, felt unloved, and at one point felt that they had no need to marry, just to stay married. One died young while the other died at a ripe age of 95. But in the end, both of these deaths taught us lessons and each death brought pain ( in the case of Diana) and happiness that is so unbelievable ( Mandela’s death).They are not Americans by birth or by naturalization, yet their stories were read and celebrated In America more than any other place in the world. Why? Because this is a country that has helped so many poor people all over the world. This is the world capital for humanity.

As revolutionaries: Diana helped change the British monarchy by how they conducted its affairs with the general public. Before Diana, their affairs was  conducted privately. Not so much was known about them, but all that changed when Diane saw herself in a lonely palace where there was less visitations. In her own words, Diana said about her children, “I have taken the children to all sorts of areas where I’m not sure anyone of that age in this family has been before. And they have knowledge they may never use, but the seed is there and I hope it still grows, because knowledge is power”. (Donnelly 58). But do not worry Diana; we know that your children are using the seed you planted. She also put a human face to humanity. She alleviated people`s sufferings as she related to her own pains. She created a new legacy. Meanwhile, Mandela created awareness about the Apartheid; he brought his people out from sufferings, and gave it the attention it deserved. He transformed South Africa. His efforts helped to erase more memories about Apartheid and welcomed and embraced the new, now widely known South Africa. Without Mandela, the world would not have known so much about South Africa and Apartheid.   

Ironically, they both relinquished their duties. Mandela as a great man of conscience voluntarily left the office in 1999 after one term in office because he wanted to make sure that South African democracy did not descend into a personality cult; he did it for his people and the world.

In another kind or relinquishing her duties and moving on from royal palace in general. By the end of 1993,the strain was genuine and Diana was at a low ebb. It was then she shocked her admirers by announcing her withdrawal from  much public life and her role as the figure head of many charities ( Donnelly 63) . Diana did not necessarily enjoy what was happening in Kensington Palace. Her unhappiness was creating distraction to the royal households as she tried desperately to fit into the family. When  she felt that her presence was not needed anymore.  She started missing the dinner parties; she led a lonely existence, and occasionally she would go to high cinema at high Kensington. But most especially, Diana cherished the time that she would spend in private with her sons, free from the pressures of public engagements, if not from the attention of photographers, according to Peter Donnelly.

My blog today will take a look at the sadness that overcame the world in 1997 when Diane died and compared it with the happiness that we all felt when Nelson Mandela died on Thursday December 5th. There is nothing wrong with having those conflicting feelings, and I will tell you why. The world was still moving when The Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, aka Mother Theresa died, in 1997.There was pain when John F. Kennedy died on Nov, 22 1963, when Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. But unlike anything we had seen globally, Both Diana`s and Mandela`s deaths brought tears and happiness that were equally shared. In Diana `s there were tears because of her untimely death then, because of what she could have done more, and she was a mother of two little children. And finally, the world did not have time to tell her how much she was loved. For Mandela, people celebrated his death because he has finished his job here on earth. He has grown up kids, and he had the opportunity to be loved, and he did.

How The world took Notice Of These Two Individuals.

Diana was first introduced to the world in 1981 when she married Prince Charles. A lot happened in her marriage, but we began to notice Diana when she became public about the state of her marriage. She captured our hearts with her humility. Her own rejection led her to her own humanitarian work. She became known globally for her work all over the world. Yet Diana recovered from adversity to capture the hearts of people all over the world. And that triumph was not due to wealth or power or title, but to qualities that lay within – qualities for which she was universally adored with an innate ability to understand, and emphasize with, ordinary people, the desperately sick, the rejected, and the unloved. (Donnelly1).

On the other hand, Mandela became known when he spent 24 years in a prison for his role in Apartheid in South Africa. He later became the face of Apartheid; clamoring for peace in a world that was so broken. Mandela was a revolutionary, a politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He moved from being incarcerated, to becoming the President of South Africa, to humanitarian, and his admission to the things that he was not good at made us like him. He came out with all the love and attention going to his personal life. Most especially he was an imperfect man who admitted his faults. He won the hearts of millions of people which later transformed him to an Icon.

 Although Mandela went to a real prison and spent 24 years in jail, but in a different kind of cell, Diana felt like she was in a prison. To her, living in a palace feels like a prison, “She had this great urge to go out and meet real people. Of course, she could have a private gym in the palace, but the palace felt a bit like a prison”( Donnelly 44).

Both Mandela and Diana went through rough times and felt so empty at one point in their lives. Diana at one point felt rejected, unloved, and left heartbroken. “I always had my doubts about how he really felt. There was never anything too concrete for me to grab a hold of, “Diana said about how unloved she felt. Her suspicion was right as she went from a loving princess to an abandoned princess. She did not hide her feelings too. In her own words, “I had this feeling that something wasn`t right, “One minute I was a nobody. The next minute I was a Princess of Wales. It was just too much for one person to handle”, (Donnelly 28).Like Diana, Mandela too felt unloved and wanted out of the marriag.According to him, he did not want to stay married for the sake of being married. The judge listened to him, and granted him divorce from Winnie even when she had objected to the idea of divorce. Like Diana, Mandela divorced in 1996 when he claimed that he was unfaithful to Winnie; he was having an affair with a colleague..

Mandela, just like Diana, was loved by all, the world, and their respective countries of origin. Mandela was viewed as a very humble man. His sense of humor was admirable. He always made his presence felt wherever he went. He never hides his true self and he was relatable. On the other hand, Diana was more than a pretty face, she was humble too. She was relatable probably through her own hardship as her love life became a tabloid story; with her, every story draws more pity. More love from people. As people watched  glued to their TV. Diana became the people’s princess despite all that she went through. Even when the world knew about her infidelity, yet no one cared. Everyone wanted to make sure she was okay. People wanted to see her everywhere she went.

Both Mandela and Diana divorce ended in divorce. Diana was married in July 1981 and had the final divorce in 1996. Mandela was married for 32years Like Diana, Mandela divorced in 1996 when he claimed that he was unfaithful to Winnie; he was having an affair with a colleague. Like both of them, their different affairs never hurt their images. He remained the people’s man diva meaning father, while Diane became the people’s princess. They both received accolades from all over the world. Even their personal life stories did nothing to them as the world wanted more of Mandela and less of Winnie, the same way the world had nothing to do with Prince Charles up until today. They both had an affair, a divorce.

What We Learned From Their Deaths,

But such a huge death will not go unnoticed. In August 1997, Diana`s death brought so much pain and some people still feel the pain until today. I saw how distraught people were, including me. Her death brought so much sadness as people had no time to even say good bye. I remember in 1997 thinking I wish I was more visible in my community while I was growing up. I began to appreciate what it means to make time for other people, which is an important lesson. Her death taught many people a lesson which goes from how I can get better at what I do. This human kindness was a key lesson that was boldly written. But no, it wasn’t. I spent another three days witnessing the anger, and sadness that was so unimaginable to console the grief and the heart broken. She died too young. Yet her death taught every one of us so much.

The death of Mandela yet has reactivated this act of selflessness, the humanity part in all of us that speaks and looks for peace even in an uncomfortable situation. The image around the world was that of joy; it brought joy to my soul, a different kind of feeling that went beyond human comprehension. This is also from the idea of connecting globally. There were happy faces, just like when Diana died, all the national TV stations carried the news, but the image of happiness on people was so unbelievable. I went home thinking, “What happened?” He was a good man. He was old, and he was a humanitarian. I guess not only the good die young. As we celebrate the life of Mandela, there is also so much to learn.

Lessons Beyond

Diana taught us that you can still be visible and be respected .On the other hand, Mandela went from adversity, from 24 years in prison, from living in isolation, to becoming a peace maker. Mandela taught us about forgiveness, acceptance, and creating peace even in the most difficult places. He learned to trust. He was able to move from adversity to victory.

For all who believe in humanity, Thursday, Dec 5th when Mandela died was a winning day for all. It was a day to remember, and most especially, it has opened more opportunities for people to continue to strive so hard for just a common core of peace. It is real and one could feel it; regardless of how unclose or close one is to reality. I know how serious the media`s role could play here. The media goes as our nation goes, the pride that came from Nelson Mandela`s death was so reflective and will remain for a long time. It was so much pride to witness the global unity once more.

His death would have brought so much pain to the community. But his death is creating more aware ness for global tolerance, the peace that is so much needed in the world today. Even though his death does not belong to the song that Billy Joel wrote because we now know that the good don`t always die young, Mandela was humanity. At last, there were celebrations, hope, peace, and harmony. It brought in a global connection and a different kind of death.

Depending on time and place, the world is closer, bigger, and celebrations differ. Who would have thought that the death of Mandela would have brought so much happiness, instead of sadness, and unity instead of division? I guess once in a lifetime a uniter comes to the world.

While Diana`s death taught us a lesson in humility, a lesson to be who you are. A lesson of understanding that a little hand can go a long way in helping the next person. On the other hand, Mandela also taught us that the world is watching. He led by example. He taught us to have a conscience in everything we do. Without a conscience, he would have fallen in love with power. He taught us a wonderful lesson of forgiveness. I overheard a man talking about how the British tortured them for years, but that is not what humanity does. Humanity will move away from envy, jealousy and hatred, and get to the point of vulnerability. Without forgiveness, an open heart, the world could not and would not have had success in this effort of global connection. You can step out and be that pillar who can lead people. In everything you do.

Unlike Diana, Mandela was so fortunate and had opportunities over and over when people told him how much he was loved. Most revolutionaries never have those opportunities. At least he knows that he was beloved before his death, unlike Diana, who wasn`t sure especially as her life was cut very short. But like Diana too, we have seen many young people die heartbroken, and without knowing that they are loved.

Just like Diana, Mandela`s death has become a global affair, read and heard all over the world. Like Diana, instead of experiencing the similar pain we felt in 1997, we are now experiencing a celebration too. As we are all glued to TV, we watch people all over the world celebrate his legacies. I hope we have peace, kindness, and more tolerance among all in a broken and yet hopeful world. How do you want to be remebered?.



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