Anant Singh's epic film about former president, Nelson Mandela has become the highest grossing biopic of all time in South Africa.
Videovision says in a statement, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" has to date grossed over R20.6 million at the box office in about five weeks, raking in more money than the movies "Invictus" also about Madiba, "Gandhi", "Lincoln", "The Iron Lady" and "Ali". Between me and you, I am not surprised.
Both the book, Long Walk to Freedom and the movie, have given us a broader understanding of where Mandela comes from and who he really is, but largely why Madiba has become a global icon.
I really enjoyed the scene where Madiba is telling the nation about the need for them to stand together, stop violence and move forward as a country. He made it clear that: "As your leader, I will tell you when you are wrong." In this case he was really appealing to his followers or you can call them comrades to follow his vision as the leader.
Mandela’s story in the movie for me is wonderfully depicted. In that we got to know our leader as well as the family man that he was. Yes, most of us know that the former President broke up with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela but both the movie and the book reveal that in a much broader sense. I remember a scene where Madiba was calling his wife to order because of the on-going violence in the country. One could see the anger in Mam Winnie's eyes when Mandela was calling for peace in that interview he had with the SABC.
The movie really depicted Soweto there way it was back then in the 80s and 90s. During the movie I was touched in many ways but how can I forget that OMO box on the street pole, and the taverns that we still have today. The cast's wardrobe must be commended, the clothes were stunning! That also made the movie outstanding.
On a personal note, as a young South African born just before 1994, I learned a lot from the movie and I fully understand the anger and frustration that our fellow South Africans had and still have regarding apartheid government and the current government.
The culture of burning tyres on streets, singing struggle songs and marching, those scenes reminded me of recent unrests in the country where people are protesting for better service delivery. It's no secret that South African youth led the struggle. They were in large numbers demanding what is rightfully theirs. I take courage, strength, victory and vision from them. They have shown determination and true leadership.
Now back to the movie. I know you have read and possibly you have also raised your views regarding international actors playing roles of our own icons. But I must be honest; I think both Idris Elba who plays Mandela and Naomie Harris killed the performance. Ask yourself one question, which South African actor would have put their balls on the line to depict the “ father of the nation” whilst at the same time be able to have an international appeal?
Without offending anyone, I agree with my brother Siphumelele Zondi when he says after watching the movie, he couldn’t think of any South African actors who could have played Winnie and Mandela. Yes, our very own South African actors were there and they had a chance to prove themselves in the world stage, but I don't think they outdid the so called "International stars".
Speaking about right people for the job, Singh deserved to become the man who produced the highest grossing biopic of all time in South Africa, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom". It wasn’t just a years project for him. He had taken years to complete this movie and many parts of those years were in the research phase.
Because of his hard work, the next generation will not only read about Madiba but will also get a chance to see who he really was, thanks to Singh and the entire cast and crew of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."Out of ten, I give the movie nine.