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AFTER more than R300 million and 18 months of shooting, activists, celebrities and ordinary South Africans watched the premier of the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in Joburg last night.
The movie is an adaptation of the former president’s autobiography of the same name, with British actor Idris Elba portraying the elder statesman, while Naomie Harris portrays his ex-wife, Winnie Mandela.
Elba, who suffered an asthma attack that saw him land up in hospital, was able to make the screening yesterday.
Film-maker Anant Singh, who produced the film, was among those at the screening at The Zone in Rosebank. Other guests included Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, and Maria Ramos.
Directed by Justin Chadwick the film has a number of local actors who portrayed people in Mandela’s life. Terry Pheto plays his first wife, Evelyn Mase, Riaad Moosa portrays Ahmed Kathrada, Tony Kgoroge plays the part of Walter Sisulu, and Lindiwe Matshikiza plays the role of Mandela and Winnie’s daughter, Zindzi Mandela.
The film portrays Mandela’s journey from childhood in the rural village of Qunu, to becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
It also shows parts of Mandela that many people do not know of, such as his love for fancy cars, his love for boxing, and his love for women.
Radio personality Gareth Cliff said the movie would make South Africans feel good.
“Young and old people all over the world care about Nelson Mandela. Everyone is affected by his legacy. The film reminds us of a history we are so prone to forget.”
Businesswoman Khanyi Dlomo said she hoped the film would inspire young people to make sacrifices and put more effort into the country’s development.
Radio personality Elana Afrika-Breedenkamp tweeted after seeing the film: “A long road and indeed a Long Walk to Freedom. Star-struck and very excited to have shared a space with all these guests.”
Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, tweeted: “It was a long wait but it is time for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom premiere. Excited. I know Anant Singh would have done a fantastic job.”
Film critic Barry Ronge found the film amazing. “I thought it was amazing because it was all shot in a studio in Cape Town… Not for a second did I think it was a set.”
The film first wowed audiences at the Toronto Film Festival on September 7 and will be released on November 28 in South Africa and the US, and in UK cinemas from January 3. - Cape Argus