Nelson Mandela, a philanderer? Actually, maybe. Two women are claiming to be the leader’s illegitimate children, and want to be acknowledged by the estate as such.
Will this news tarnish the legacy of a great man? Meh, probably not.
First off, while cheating is certainly not something most people want to go through, perceptions of it are less severe than might be initially assumed. One study, for example, found that nearly 25 percent of singles would consider marrying someone who had been unfaithful to them.
Nor is cheating all that uncommon. More than half of both men and women--57 percent of the former, 54 percent of the latter--have admitted being unfaithful at some point in their lives. This means means for the majority of people, it's difficult to be outright judgmental against those who cheat.
And finally, we tend to be able to separate the deeds of public figures from the transgressions of their personal lives. Yes, Bill Clinton was impeached for the Monica Lewinsky affair (which, incidentally, Hillary Clinton has just blamed herself for--what?!), but that was more because he lied than anything else. And it's hardly hurt his soaring post-presidential career. (I mean, c'mon, we even forgave the thoroughly icky sexcaspades of Anthony Weiner...at least the first time.)
In other words, these stories may get people talking, but at the end of the day, we still see the figures behind them largely for that they've done, not who they've done. In the case of Mandela, his sterling legacy will live on.