Do you know what Nelson Muntz’s middle name is? It may come as a bit of a surprise to discover that the creators and writers of the show inserted a little tribute to a man well known for his fight for justice and equality. A man who beat the odds to become a world icon and leader of his country. That man is Nelson Mandela. That’s right, the eternal bully of Springfield Elementary School, is named after Mandela. His name is Nelson Mandela Muntz. Nelson Muntz’s middle name is a tribute to former leader and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. But why of all possible characters in the show would they pick Nelson?
This is the big unknown. To date there is no known reason that Nelson has been named after the great man. Some people theorize that it could have to do with the fact that despite Nelson being a well renowned bully, he has the ability to have a deep soul with a unique understanding of what life is like for those less fortunate. Nelson has the ability to show humility and compassion, which is not too unlike Mr Mandela. He has also been able to forge close and open relationships with those in similar situations to his own. But there could be even be a more simpler answer.
Without a doubt at the time that the show was first created in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, South Africa was undergoing a massive transition. Apartheid was coming finally beginning to come to an end, thanks mainly to Mandela’s leadership of the anti-apartheid movement. It was making waves not only in South Africa, but around the world. Nelson Mandela was a name that was on just about everyone’s lips. It’s almost perfectly feasible that the writers of the show decided to make Nelson Muntz’s middle name Mandela simply because it was in widespread use, and rolled off the tongue.