Quirk Joburg's clip using Lego figurines features scenes from Nelson Mandelas life.

Cape Town - The long walk to freedom is paved with plastic bricks. At least that’s what the creators of Legocy seem to think.

The short tribute to Nelson Mandela, which hit YouTube on Thursday morning, was cobbled together from the Lego bin to recreate portions of the former president’s life as described in his autobiography.

During the clip, figurines are brought to life using stop-motion, cutting between scenes of what Madiba’s life on Robben Island might have looked like if it had been more blocky.

In one clip he is lying on his bed in his cell, a tiny picture of Winnie Mandela on the wall. In another he is chipping away in the limestone quarry on the island.

His famous speech on the Grand Parade in Cape Town, following his release from prison in 1990, is played over scenes of protesters burning their pass books in barrels of Lego flames or holding up miniature scribbled posters as they confront police.

“We pulled an all-nighter to finish this,” said Fran Luckin, executive creative director of Quirk Joburg – the team that put together the short movie.

Armed with borrowed and bought Lego sets, the team went to work constructing their props. It was an unusual activity for the ad agency, but it was for a good cause.

Quirk had entered the YouTube Film Hack competition, a Google initiative in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation that called on companies to create a campaign to inspire South Africans to follow in the footsteps of Mandela.

“As is the nature of these hacks you don’t have much time. Your options are really to quickly shoot your own stuff or use existing footage,” said Luckin. “That’s what we expected the other teams to do, so we settled on Lego to stand out from the crowd.”

The short clip ends with the message: “You’re never too young to know the whole story. Help us keep the legacy alive.”

The campaign has now taken on a life outside of the competition, said Luckin.

“Now we are going to hand over a request to Lego on December 5 to release a Madiba Freedom Fighter set… I think it’s important that we keep his legacy alive, so the born-frees will never forget this country’s miracle.”

She has urged users to sign the request for the new Lego set - go to www.legocy.co.za to do that.

Mandela foundation spokeswoman Danielle Melville said Thursday was the first sneak peek at the competition’s entries.

Three videos have been selected for the final round, and will be judged on Tuesday.

“Two members of the winning team will earn a trip to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, sponsored by Google South Africa,” she concluded.

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Cape Argus