Correction: Maimane's 'mini-Mandela' quote used out of context

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DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s chief of staff, Geordin Hill-Lewis, has dismissed media reports that Maimane had referred to himself as a "mini-Mandela" as "contorted".

On April 27, the SABC ran a news report in which Maimane was shown, in a very brief clip, as saying: "People phone me. They are on Twitter. They are on Facebook. They say, 'Mmusi Maimane you are a mini-Mandela! You are a sell-out of our people!'."

The clip was filmed during a DA rally in Soshanguve in Pretoria on Freedom Day, and resulted in a backlash on social media.

Hill-Lewis said, in an opinion piece on politicsweb, that Maimane had lamented the use of Mandela’s name as a pejorative insult by some South Africans who now consider Madiba a "sell-out".

Hill-Lewis went on to say that Maimane was "denouncing the abandonment of Mandela’s values in contemporary political debate, which was increasingly fueled by vengeance, hate and division, rather than unity and reconciliation".

"In doing so, Maimane remarked that people have even started calling him a "mini-Mandela sell-out" on social media as an insult.

"His point was clearly not one of boastful self-aggrandisement, but of dismay at how easily people are prepared to tarnish the name of someone as honourable as Mandela, to the point that his name is being used as a derogatory epithet," Hill-Lewis writes.

Comments about the Mandela comparison became a hot talking point on Twitter.

The Sunday Times’ Hogarth, an anonymous satirical writer, also named Maimane the "Mampara of the Week".

Mai­mane has previously also come under fire from social media users over the perception that he fashioned himself on former US President Barack Obama.

News24’s initial report implied that DA Leader Mmusi Maimane had referred to himself as a "mini-Mandela", and did not provide the necessary context for his comments. News24 apologises for any misrepresentation.

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