I have also recently watched Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom The epic, powerful, inspiring and at times thrilling film which was released recently on DVD. Directed by Justin Chadwick it Stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela, and is the incredible true story of the life of Nelson Mandela and is based on Mandela’s autobiographical book ‘Long Walk to Freedom” it starts from his humble beginnings in a remote village. His education at a Thembu college called Clarkebury, and later at the strict Healdtown school, where students were rigorously put in routines. He mentions his education at the University of Fort Hare, and his practice of law later on.
The film looks at the important role his future wife Winnie Mandela played in introducing him to the various political and social aspects of apartheid in South Africa, and the influences of politicians such as Daniel François Malan who implemented the nadir of African freedoms, as he officially commenced the apartheid policies. Which were all opposed by the then outlawed African National Congress whom Mandela joined in 1950 who used organisation of guerrilla tactics and underground organisations to battle against apartheid, resulting in Mandela’s subsequent imprisonment on Robben Island for 27 years, by the Apartheid Government who regarded him as a terrorist and jailed him for his role as a leader of the then-outlawed ANC.
The film looks at his prison time on Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison. Which was marked by the cruelty of Afrikaner guards, backbreaking labour, and sleeping in minuscule cells which were nearly uninhabitable. And his alleged former close personal friendship with the warder James Gregory, whose position was to review all incoming and outgoing mail and censor the letters delivered to the future president, and who was able to discover the details of Mandela’s personal life, which he then made money from by means of his book Goodbye Bafana. Mandela considered suing Gregory for this breach of trust. Later on in his sentence, Mandela met South African president, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and was released from prison in 1990.
The film does not delve to deeply into the alleged complicity of de Klerk in the violence of the eighties and nineties, or the role of his ex-wife Winnie Mandela in that bloodshed. But focuses instead on how Mandela became the first Democratically Elected President of South Africa in 1994 and how he triumphed becoming a modern icon in the process, achieving international recognition for his leadership as president in rebuilding the country’s once segregated society.