A US$35-million film which chronicles the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela was premiered in South Africa on Sunday evening, stirring emotional memories of the anti-apartheid icon. The film, entitled “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” is based on his autobiography, China’s Xinhua news agency reported. Mandela saw excerpts and stills from the film at his home in Qunu last year, said Justin Chadwick, the British director of the film.
Mandela, 95, was admitted to hospital several times since December and remains critically ill at his Johannesburg home. He became the first black president in 1994 after democratic elections. His daughter Mandela Zindzi said she became emotional when she watched the film. In honour of the South African struggle icon, many of the Mandela family who attended the film’s launch were on a red carpet. Commenting after the debut of the movie, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said it was an emotional movie. Fighting back his tears, Radebe said: “It (the film) depicts not only the struggle by Nelson Mandela but also by the people of South Africa.” “I cried many times during the movie because it was so emotional,” he added.
Deputy President of African National Congress (ANC) Cyril Ramaphosa said the movie portrayed the former South African president well and “is a clear testimony of the great works done by Mr. Mandela.” The two-and-half-hour film will be released in South Africa and the United States on Nov 28. Many of South Africa’s well-known politicians, business people, men and women showed up to watch the film’s premiere.
After the premiere, people waited anxiously outside to meet with the cast. Winnie Madikizela Mandela, former wife of Mandela, met with Naomie Harries, who plays the former wife in the film. Harris also starred in the James Bond movie “Skyfall.” The Mandela film has two British actors in the leading roles, but the film-makers insist it is a South African story told largely by South Africans.
It also features actor Tony Kgoroge, who played the role of a presidential security chief in “Invictus,” a 2009 movie directed by Clint Eastwood. This time Kgoroge plays Walter Sisulu, a longtime associate of Mandela. — BERNAMA