Idris Elba in a scene from the mini-series Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Idris Elba in a scene from the mini-series Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

Durban - Film producer Anant Singh announced on Friday the creation of a four part mini-series of the film 
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom to commemorate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The series will be broadcast on DStv’s Mandela 100 tribute pop-up channel between July 18 and 22.  

Singh's Mandela documentary collection will also be broadcast. These include Beyond Long Walk To FreedomCountdown To FreedomPrisoners Of HopeA Hero For AllViva Madiba and the film produced for the Mandela centenary, Celebrating Mandela One Hundred.

The Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom mini-series stars multiple award-winning actor, Idris Elba; award-winning actresses Naomie Harris and Terry Pheto; Tony Kgoroge; Riaad Moosa; Lindiwe Matshikiza; Atandwa Kani; Jamie Bartlett and Deon Lotz, and is produced by Singh.

It tells the Madiba story in a more detailed manner – his childhood; adapting to life in the big city of Johannesburg; becoming politicised, then incarcerated for almost three decades and ultimately becoming president of a democratic South Africa. It is an inspirational story of struggle, sacrifice, hope and triumph, and serves to broaden and deepen knowledge about Madiba and his lifelong commitment to freedom and democracy in South Africa.

Commenting on the mini-series, Singh said, “During the production, we shot an enormous amount of footage that was not used in the feature film and decided to create the mini-series. We are very pleased that this enables us to tell the complete Madiba story as it includes scenes of his childhood in the Transkei; being sent to live with the Tembu Regent, Jongintaba; his move to Johannesburg and experiencing the vibrance of Sophiatown and its destruction, and his internship with the Johannesburg law firm, Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman and many other watershed moments in his life.”

The documentary collection covers the period shortly before South Africa’s first democratic elections to Mandela's passing in December 2013. These include:

  • Countdown To Freedom: This documents the first free and fair election in South Africa and includes exclusive access to Nelson Mandela as he took the final steps on his walk from prisoner to president. 
  • Prisoners Of Hope: This charts the reunion on Robben Island of 1 250 of its former political prisoners led by President Mandela. 
  • A Hero For All: This tracks the activities of Mandela from the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections and throughout his presidency.
  • Viva Madiba: This is the story of a rich life, a record of comradeship, and a new glimpse into historical and personal facets of this great man’s rise from an anonymous child to a world icon and celebrating the man who shaped the destiny of a nation. 
  • Beyond Long Walk To Freedom: This fascinating five-part series examines the history and issues behind Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom through the use of original interviews with Mandela and the people who knew him well. 
  • Celebrating Mandela One Hundred, traces Mandela’s life from his roots in the rural village of Mveso, to becoming one of the greatest statesmen the world has  seen. The film takes us beyond the political and into the personal, and features exclusive interviews with family members, close friends, comrades, politicians and international celebrities, telling us the story of a man who became an international icon.

Singh added, “I am fortunate to have had unprecedented access to events with Madiba after his release from prison, and to record historic events for posterity through the production of these films which remind us of Madiba’s legacy and his selfless leadership. We are delighted to have partnered with DStv to broadcast them as part of the Mandela centenary celebrations.”

Yolisa Phahle, General Entertainment CEO of MultiChoice said: “This is a very special five-day pop-up channel to honour and celebrate the extraordinary life and legacy of the global icon Nelson Mandela; a man whose life-long commitment to justice and freedom shaped the world. We pride ourselves in only acquiring the very best content and couldn’t have asked for a better line-up.

The Mandela 100 pop-up channel can be found at channel 199 on the DStv bouquet.

The Independent on Saturday