During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. Rivonia Trial in April 1964
In South Africa he is referred to as Madiba or “the father of the nation”, a controversial figure for most of his life he was accused of being a terrorist and communist sympathiser, but today Nelson Mandela is remembered for being an African anti-apartheid revolutionary who served 27 years in prison for his nation.
Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully in his Johannesburg home on the 5th of December 2013 following a long illness, with South African president Jacob Zuma announcing the news nationally in a statement:
“Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love.”
US president Barack Obama also gave a statement saying:
“Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.”
Mandela’s book “Long Walk to Freedom” was recently translated to the silver screen by Director Justin Chadwick and Producer Anant Singh, though it has been in the works for over two decades.
Set for release in Australia on 6 February 2014, Singh first began the project after interviewing Mandela while he was still in prison. Singh described their relationship as being very close, and when Mandela published his auto biography in 1994 he granted him the rights for a film adaptation.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Singh explained “I was honored that he chose me as the custodian of these rights, but entrusting the rights to something like this, to someone like myself, came with responsibility.”. The synopsis for the film, starring Idris Elba in the title role, is as follows:
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM celebrates Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his election as President of South Africa. It explores the Mandela unknown to most of the world – the lover of fancy cars, a ladies’ man, the boxing enthusiast and playboy, the skillful lawyer and freedom fighter. The film is an intimate portrait of the making of a modern icon.
– Mandela Movie Website.
Director Justin Chadwick knew the high importance of making this film a deep and honest reflection of Mandela and his life, stating on the movie website:
“My instincts told me that I should concentrate the story on him as a man. When I met his daughters and other people who were close to him and I discussed my approach to the film, all of them stressed: “Yes, treat him like a man. Tell the story of him as a man”.
“But it’s so much more than just the Mandela family story, it’s about The Struggle and this is still very present in everybody’s lives today, you feel it when you’re on those streets with the people we were working with, you feel it from the crew; the struggle is still ongoing, and this film has to be worthy of those people.”