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Stephen Colbert pokes fun at Americans' use of the term 'Madiba'

Comedian Stephen Colbert poked fun Monday at the appropriation of the term 'Madiba' by the media and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum's comparison of Obamacare to apartheid in South Africa.

By JC Finley
Stephen Colbert pokes fun at Americans' use of the term 'Madiba'
Writer Stephen Colbert holds the award he won for "Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series - .The Colbert Report" at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2013. (File/UPI/Danny Moloshok) | License Photo

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Stephen Colbert, the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, devoted part of his episode Monday to poking fun at America's propensity for appropriating the term of endearment -- 'Madiba' -- used by South Africans when speaking of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

In the Mandela segment, Colbert displayed a montage of media using their "special names" for Mandela: "it's a clan name... the man they called 'Madiba'... the man they called Tata... Tata-Madiba."

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Colbert coined his own affectionate term, saying "those of us in his inner circle, of course, called him 'Nutella' -- yes, rich, creamy chocolate hazelnut justice."

He then went on to poke fun at Republican former Senator Rick Santorum who, in an interview on Fox News, compared Nelson Mandela's fight against apartheid to America's struggle with oversized government and Obamacare. Colbert drolly summed up Santorum's argument that "Obamacare is America's apartheid. And if Rick Santorum is the one fighting it, then he is America's Nelson Mandela. Or, as his closest followers call him, 'Tata-Vanilla.'"

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In a similar vein, the Washington Post issued "A South African's guide to when it's okay to call Nelson Mandela 'Madiba,'" in which Foreign Affairs blogger Max Fisher wrote that use of the term is "surely meant as a show of love and admiration for the great man and his achievements. But, deliberately or not, that habit can feel at times a bit like appropriation -- an attempt to imply some connection to Mandela's life, and perhaps a degree of ownership over his legacy."

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[Comedy Central] [Washington Post]

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